Most people with COVID-19 will have mild to moderate symptoms (and some may not have any symptoms), which means they can safely isolate in their own home.

It is important to monitor your symptoms while isolating at home. Use the healthdirect COVID-19 Symptom Check to find out if you need to seek medical help.

See information below about mild, worsening and severe symptoms to ensure you can access the right help to support your recovery.

Common mild to moderate symptoms

If you, or the person you are caring for, have mild or moderate COVID-19 symptoms, you can safely stay at home.
You should:

  • monitor your symptoms
  • drink plenty of water (2 to 2.5 litres a day)
  • supplement with oral rehydration fluids such as Gastrolyte and Hydralyte, especially if you have
  • vomiting or diarrhoea
  • eat healthy food
  • take paracetamol or ibuprofen if needed
  • continue to take your regular medicines

Common to moderate symptoms include:

  • runny or blocked nose
  • sore throat
  • aches and pains
  • cough
    • dry cough or coughing up mucous
    • if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual
  • feeling more tired than usual
    • but able to get out of bed, walk around the house and do normal daily activities
  • headache
  • loss of or change in taste and smell
  • loss of appetite or nausea
  • vomiting or diarrhoea, less than 4 times per day
  • fever or temperature above 38 degrees Celsius
  • shakes or shivers
  • dizziness or light-headedness
    • but not feeling like you might faint or fainting
  • mild shortness of breath when walking briskly, upstairs or coughing
    • but still able to speak in full sentences without becoming out of breath
  • no difficulty breathing when remaining still, getting dressed or eating and drinking.

Worsening symptoms

If you, or the person you are caring for, have worsening symptoms or you are concerned about your health, contact the National Coronavirus Helpline on 1800 020 080, or your usual GP.

Worsening symptoms include:

  • shortness of breath when walking around the house
    • but still able to speak in full sentences without becoming out of breath
  • difficulty breathing when remaining still, getting dressed or eating and drinking
  • little or no urination
  • unable to eat and drink anything for a prolonged period
    • more than 24 hours without eating anything
    • unable to drink fluids, such as water, for more than 12 hours

Severe symptoms

If you, or the person you are caring for, have any severe COVID-19 symptoms, you should call Triple Zero (000) immediately and advise that you have COVID-19. Do not wait to see if your symptoms change, call an ambulance immediately.

Severe symptoms include:

  • severe shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
    • becoming short of breath even when resting and not moving around
    • becoming breathless when talking or finding it hard to finish sentences
  •  breathing gets worse very suddenly
  • chest pain
    • severe or constant
    • not only on coughing or with movement
  • lips or face turning blue
  • skin cold, clammy, pale or mottled
  • severe headache
  • passing out due to dizziness or light-headedness
  • confusion (for example, can’t recall the day, time or people’s names).

Recovery from COVID-19

There are some important things that you can do to help manage your symptoms and recover from COVID-19.

Food and fluid

Your body needs good, healthy food to help fight COVID-19 infection and support recovery.

Tips to maintain good nutrition include:

  • Eat a balanced diet with lots of fruit and vegetables.
  • Drink at least 8 glasses of water a day, unless your doctor says otherwise.
  • Monitor the colour of your urine – pale yellow means you are well hydrated, whereas dark yellow means you are dehydrated and should drink more fluids. If drinking more fluids does not improve the colour of your urine (to pale yellow) you should tell your usual GP.

You may not feel hungry or find eating hard if you are breathless or feeling sick. Try eating small amounts of food and taking sips of water more frequently.

Sleep

Getting enough sleep is important for your wellbeing and recovery from COVID-19.

Sometimes sleeping too much can make fatigue worse. Try to find a good balance. Tips for sleep include:

  • Make sure the room is dark and quiet.
  • Limit using your phone, devices or watching TV in bed.
  • Try to go to bed around the same time each night.
  • Avoid caffeine, smoking and alcohol, especially before going to bed.
  • Avoid exercise or heavy meals shortly before going to bed.

Sometimes it can be hard to fall asleep if you are thinking about lots of things, or if you feel anxious. If you haven’t been able to sleep after 20 minutes or so, try getting up and doing something relaxing (with the lights low or off), until you’re tired and then try to sleep again.

If you use a CPAP machine to help you sleep, please continue to do so while you have COVID-19.

Mental health

Having COVID-19 or being in isolation can be stressful and may make you feel anxious. It is very important to take care of your mental health during this time.

Tips for looking after your mental health:

  • Keep in contact with friends and family.
  • Maintain a daily routine.
  • Practice meditation, relaxation or mindfulness.
  • Ask for help and support.

Visit the Mental health support page for information about looking after your mental health and wellbeing during isolation, as well as supports and services is available.

Rest and recovery

When recovering from illness, such as COVID-19, it is common for your symptoms and energy levels to change (sometimes better and sometimes worse). If you are feeling well, you may try to do more things, but this could make you feel unwell and you may need to rest.

Remember that you need rest to recover. All activity takes up energy (physical, mental and emotional). Keep a daily routine as much as you can and rest when you need to.

Longer term recovery from COVID-19

COVID-19 can cause other health issues, which may continue even after you have “recovered” (are no longer COVID-19 positive) and you have been released from isolation.

Find more information about what to do if you are concerned you might have Long COVID-19.