Here are some common questions about COVID-19. You may also find our Resources and Support page helpful.
How can I protect myself from COVID-19?
Keeping up to date with your COVID-19 vaccinations and booster shots is an important way to help protect yourself from severe illness.8
Wearing a mask can help protect yourself and those around you.8 Mask guidance will depend on where you live, but you may choose to wear one even if there are no mandates to wear them.
Social distancing and hand hygiene are also important ways of protecting yourself and others from infection.8
Is it COVID-19, the flu or a cold?
It’s not always easy to tell the difference between symptoms of COVID-19 and symptoms of other illnesses, such as the flu (influenza) or common cold.3 Get tested to confirm whether you have COVID-19.2
How can I find out if I have COVID-19?
Get tested at the first sign of symptoms. It is recommended that you take a PCR test, as they are generally better at detecting COVID-19 than RATs.2
Talk to your doctor for advice.
Most people who become ill with COVID-19 will recover with bed rest.3 While there is no cure for COVID-19, medicines have been developed that may be prescribed for certain patients.7 You can ask your doctor for advice whether these are right for you.
What are COVID-19 antiviral medicines?
COVID-19 antiviral medications are used to treat COVID-19 in adults who are at increased risk of hospitalisation or death.7
Not everyone diagnosed with COVID-19 will need these treatments. These medications are available by prescription only. If you test positive for COVID-19 and are at risk of severe illness, talk to your doctor.7
What puts you at high risk for severe COVID-19?
Certain population groups and those with certain medical conditions are at increased risk of severe COVID-19 illness.5 You can find a list of risk factors here. Talk to your doctor to discuss potential risk factors and to plan for COVID-19.
Why do we need COVID-19 medicines if the vaccines work?
COVID-19 medicines are different to COVID-19 vaccines. COVID-19 medicines are not a substitute for vaccination against COVID-19; you should get vaccinated against COVID-19 if you’re able to.7
COVID-19 vaccines are administered when you are not infected with the virus, and help train your immune system to recognise and clear out the virus before it makes you seriously ill.7
COVID-19 antiviral medicines are used to treat COVID-19 in adults who are at increased risk of hospitalisation or death. COVID-19 oral antiviral medicines are available for eligible patients.7
Do you still have to isolate after taking antivirals?
If you test positive for COVID-19, follow your local state or territory’s health advice.9 Call the National Coronavirus Helpline on 1800 020 080 for information about how to look after yourself when you are sick with COVID-19.
How can I see a doctor quickly if my usual GP is booked out or closed?
If you don’t have a regular GP or can’t get an appointment quickly to talk about treatments, you can call HealthDirect’s free helpline on 1800 022 222 or use their Service Finder to search for one near you. 1
Test at the first sign of COVID-19 symptoms. If you test positive and are at high risk of
severe COVID-19, talk to your doctor for advice without delay.
Tell your family and friends about planning for COVID-19.
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- Updated eligibility for oral COVID-19 treatments. Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care. Accessed 15 August 2023.
- How testing works for COVID-19. Therapeutic Goods Administration. Accessed 16 March 2023. https://www.tga.gov.au/products/covid-19/covid-19-tests/how-testing-works-covid-19
- COVID-19 disease and symptoms. Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care. Accessed 24 February 2023. https://www.health.gov.au/health-alerts/covid-19/symptoms
- Risk factors for more serious illness. Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care. Accessed 24 February 2023.
- What COVID-19 test should I do? NSW Government. Accessed 15 March 2023.
- Testing for COVID-19. Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care. Accessed 24 February 2023. https://www.health.gov.au/health-alerts/covid-19/testing
- Medicines for treating COVID-19. Health Direct. Accessed 15 March 2023.
- Protect yourself and others from COVID-19. Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care. Accessed 24 February 2023.
- If you have COVID-19. Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care. Accessed 15 March 2023. https://www.health.gov.au/health-alerts/covid-19/testing-positive#testing-positive-for-covid19