As the case numbers of COVID-19 surge across the country, it is important to be prepared, should you need to look after yourself or a loved one who is experiencing mild to moderate symptoms at home.
The risk of serious illness from COVID-19 is greater for older people or those with pre-existing medication conditions. You are strongly encouraged to stay at home and avoid or limit contact with others for your own safety. You can also wear a mask, when you have other people in your home.
It is important to remember that currently there is no specific treatment for COVID-19 and it is recommended that you are vaccinated to increase your protection against this virus and any of its variants (e.g. Delta, Omicron). It is advised that you speak to a health professional if you have not been vaccinated or if you haven’t yet had the ability to receive a booster.
If possible, you should ask family, friends, or carers to shop for groceries or collect/arrange delivery of medicines for you. If you need assistance, our meal delivery service provides affordable, healthy meal options which can be delivered safely, with no contact, straight to your door. Our friendly staff can also shop for you and collect groceries, medication and other essentials.
If you want to leave home to go for a walk or do some gentle exercise, try to stay at least 1.5 metres away from other people. Or if you prefer to stay at home, there are a range of virtual activities available that can help you maintain your fitness and while providing an opportunity to engage with other people. If you go out and about, always have a mask with you and if entering a public indoor setting it is recommended, and sometimes mandated, to wear one.
Symptoms of COVID-19 include:
- Sore throat
- Runny nose
- Vomiting or nausea
- Shortness of breath
- Loss of smell and / or taste
Contact 000 if you experience:
- Persistent shortness of breath
- Chest pain
- Suddenly feeling cold with shivering and fever
- Persistent sweating
- Persistent severe muscle pain
Not everyone who displays symptoms such as a fever, cough, sore throat or fatigue has COVID-19. In some cases you may have a cold or the flu, however it is important to take precautions and get tested as soon as possible to eliminate this as being the cause of your illness. Click here for more information on the symptoms of COVID-19.
People living with dementia, or some form of cognitive condition, may find it difficult to others know if they are suffering from possible COVID-19 symptoms, particularly if they find it difficult to communicate verbally or express pain and discomfort. Someone who knows the person with dementia well, whether it be a loved one or carer, may be able to help notice changes in their health and should contact a health professional and follow their advice.
Now is the time to check your medicine cabinet and refrigerator to make sure you are prepared in case you or your loved one shows signs of COVID-19. In most cases, if you have mild to moderate symptoms and are in relatively good health, you may be able to manage the virus at home. Here’s what you should have on hand in case you start to feel unwell:
- A working thermometer
- Pain relief medication as long as it is approved by your GP or specialist
- Regular medications required
- Enough face masks, hand sanitiser and gloves if you have to isolate. Recommended wearing of surgical masks instead of cloth face masks for improved protection.
- Rapid Antigen Tests
- Plan ahead for who can safely deliver groceries and medication if needed
- Plan ahead for who could look after pets if you have to go to hospital
- Make sure your mobile phone is regularly charged
- Have an emergency contact list nearby with important phone numbers including family members and your GP
- Batteries for hearing aids and other devices
- Hydration options such as electrolyte drinks or icy poles
- Household disinfectant or disinfectant wipes
Click here for more information on how to prepare your COVID-19 home kit.
Managing COVID-19 at home
If you have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and have mild to moderate symptoms, you may be advised to stay at home and monitor your health. If the symptoms aren’t severe you should:
- Rest – sleep and rest as much as possible. It is normal to feel weak or tired but monitor this to make sure your energy levels are returning over time.
- Tell people – don’t feel you have to hide the fact that you have COVID-19. It’s important that you tell family and friends so that they can help you when you need it. It may also help prevent the spread by ensuring those who have been in contact with you also get tested and isolate.
- Take note – it’s important to keep track of your symptoms. Keep a notebook and write down your symptoms each day (ie. sore throat, cough, fatigue, loss of smell or taste). This will allow you to monitor it over time.
- Avoid contact with other people and pets in your home as much as possible. Wear a mask around others if you have to be in the same room.
- Keep your house well ventilated – open the windows to allow the air to circulate
- Drink plenty of water – keep yourself hydrated by drinking water and avoiding caffeine. If you have kidney, heart or liver disease or have been instructed to limit fluids, please speak to your doctor before increasing the amount of fluids you are drinking.
- Wash your hands – Use soap and water to wash your hands or use an alcohol-based sanitiser that contains at least 70% alcohol. It’s important to wash your hands after blowing your nose, sneezing or coughing, as well as after you’ve been to the bathroom or before you are eating or preparing food.
- Disinfect surfaces in your home every day – make sure you clean and disinfect the high-touch points around your home such as the kitchen benchtop, light switches, sinks etc.
- Avoid sharing personal items – try to keep your towels, dishes, and cutlery well clear of other people and wash them with hot, soapy water.
- Use medications correctly – be sure to check the labels before you use any pain relief medication, as well as your regular medicines.
- Follow instructions from your health care provider – your local health authority or GP will be checking in with you to monitor your symptoms and administer any medications.
It is important to remain calm, keep in touch with loved ones so they can also monitor your symptoms, and rest as much as possible. Contact your GP or ring 000 if your health is not improving or if it deteriorates rapidly.
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