Common symptoms and remedies for Covid 19

If you have tested positive for COVID-19, you are likely to experience:

  • runny or blocked nose

  • change in taste or smell

  • sore throat

  • shortness of breath

A lot of these symptoms can be relieved by simple remedies including:

  • bed rest

  • regular paracetamol and ibuprofen to relieve pain and fevers

  • throat lozenges for a sore throat

  • keeping hydrated with regular sips of water

  • cough medicine such as Bisolvin.


Some more detailed suggestions on managing the common COVID-19 symptoms:


  • Breathe in steam using a humidifier or vaporizer if you have one, or try a warm shower. This helps soothe a sore throat, open your airways and make it easier to breathe. Sip on fluids throughout the day.

  • Avoid lying on your back. Lie on your side or sit upright instead. Raise your head when sleeping using extra pillows. This helps with breathing and clears any mucous from your chest.

  • If you are coughing up mucous, it is important to continue to do this. It lowers the chance of chest infections and helps you breathe more easily.

Nausea (feeling sick), vomiting or diarrhoea (runny poo)

  • Eat plain, low fibre foods that are not spicy. This includes white rice, pasta and white bread.

  • Have small meals often. Have 6 smaller meals in the day instead of 3 big meals.

  • Do not drink alcohol or drinks with caffeine such as tea, coffee and colas.

  • Sip on clear fluids such as water during the day. This will help you to stay hydrated. Drink enough fluids so that your urine is light yellow in colour and clear.


  • Take paracetamol (e.g. Panadol) as directed.

  • Put a cool, damp washcloth on your forehead.

  • Wipe your arms and body with a cool cloth.



Seek medical assistance

If you have concerns or questions at any time while you are self-isolating you should call your GP, 134 COVID, 13HEALTH

While you are self-isolating at home, it is important you check how you are feeling and reach out for help if you need it.

It is important to keep track of how you feel while you are managing COVID-19 at home. Each day, ask yourself:

  • Can I get my own food?

  • Can I drink water?

  • Can I go to the toilet normally?

  • Can I take my regular medication?

If the answer is 'no', or you feel dizzy or lightheaded when standing up and walking around the room, call your GP, 134 COVID, 13HEALTH


If it is a medical emergency, call Triple Zero (000) immediately. Let them know you have COVID-19.

A medical emergency includes if you:

  • have trouble breathing

  • have chest pain

  • feel faint.

When the ambulance arrives, put a face mask on before you open the front door.

Have a support person

Contact a family member or friend and tell them you have COVID-19. Ask them to contact you daily at agreed times so they know you are okay.

This support person will help keep you safe, but cannot visit you in person.



Mild symptoms: rest and recover at home

You can safely stay at home if you or the person you are caring for has any of these symptoms:

  • runny or blocked nose

  • sore throat

  • aches and pains

  • dry cough

  • this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours

  • 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

  • feeling sad, worried, or frightened.

Someone with mild symptoms should be able to speak in full sentences and move around the house to do normal activities without becoming breathless.

What do I do?

Someone with mild symptoms is unlikely to need medical attention. You should monitor these symptoms and:

  • rest

  • drink plenty of water (aim to drink 2 to 2.5 litres a day)

  • eat healthy food

  • take medicines - as discussed with your doctor or pharmacist, or medicines that you usually already take.


Worsening symptoms: Talk to a GP

Contact your GP if you or the person you are caring for develops any of the following symptoms:

  • mild shortness of breath when moving around or coughing

  • but still able to speak in full sentences without becoming out of breath

  • coughing up mucous regularly

  • severe muscle aches and pains

  • feeling very weak and tired

  • but still be able to get out of bed and move around the house

  • little or no urination

  • not urinating as regularly as normal or not needing to urinate at all

  • vomiting or diarrhoea

  • a temperature above 38 degrees Celsius

  • shakes or shivers.

Or if you feel that:

  • the symptoms are getting worse, something is wrong and you are concerned the ill person is getting much worse

  • you are unable to take care of yourself and others are unable to take care of you (things like showering, putting on clothes, going to the toilet or making food).

What do I do?

Call your GP, 134 COVID or  13HEALTH  as soon as possible to discuss the worsening symptoms. Your GP or the healthlines will tell you what to do next.


Severe symptoms: get immediate help

You should call Triple Zero (000) if any of the following happens to you, or the person you are caring for:

  • 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 or discomfort

  • coughing up blood

  • lips or face turning blue

  • skin cold, clammy, pale or mottled

  • severe headaches or dizziness

  • fainting or feeling like fainting often 

  • unable to get out of bed or look after self or others

  • confusion (for example, can’t recall the day, time or people’s names)

  • finding it difficult to keep eyes open.