I tested positive to COVID-19: here are my tips on how to manage it at home

Christmas lunch and present delivery from Alyssa’s family.

Tips from the sickbed by Western Sydney Local Health District Senior Corporate Communications Specialist Alyssa Terese.

In mid-December, along with many others across NSW, I was struck down by the dreaded COVID-19. My holiday celebration dreams of family gatherings, my sister’s amazing roast potatoes and one-too-many candy canes were quickly replaced by bed rest, Hydralyte and bone broth.

Thankfully, I successfully managed my COVID-19 symptoms at home. If you are under 65, have had two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine, do not suffer from any chronic health conditions and aren’t pregnant, you are likely to be able to as well.

Here are some top tips for managing COVID-19 at home:

Stay hydrated
Keeping hydrated is of utmost importance when fighting any virus.

Regular sips of water and hydration aids such as Hydralyte and Berocca were lifesavers for me – as were icy poles!”

Fluids are essential when fighting a fever or when experiencing diarrhea – which are both common symptoms of COVID-19.

If you don’t love water, 100% fruit juices, sparkling water, coconut water, sports drinks, and fruit-infused waters are also all great options.

Rest up
You know all that sleep you’ve been meaning to catch up on? Now is your opportunity. Your body needs rest to heal so take it easy. Pull those blinds, put on that Netflix series you’ve been eyeing off and rest.  

Whilst your body is fighting COVID-19 (whether you are symptomatic or asymptomatic), it is important to rest and not exercise.

With a mild case of COVID-19, medical practitioners advise taking at least 10 days off from exercise, or until all symptoms have gone. Please consult your GP to see if this advice that is right for you.

Manage your pain  
To help relieve body aches, headaches and fevers, NSW Health recommends using regular paracetamol and ibuprofen. Throat lozenges can also work wonders.

Ensure that you continue to take any medications you have been prescribed as usual.

If you are unsure about continuing to take your current medication or treatment, or have any concerns about your health, call your GP.

Eat well
Just like staying hydrated, it’s important to eat well when sick!

Avoid alcohol, caffeine, and processed foods whilst your body is fighting COVID-19.

Focus on giving your body energy and nutrients by such as Vitamin-C-containing fruits, meat and vegetable broths, leafy greens and fibre such as oats.

You may lose your sense of taste or smell for a short period of time due to COVID-19. Plain foods might be best at this point in time to ensure you can keep eating.

Self-isolation, face masks and general hygiene
To try and avoid spreading COVID-19 to your loved ones and those you live with, you will need to self-isolate in your home or accommodation and remain separated from others.

I live with a housemate who thankfully remained COVID-19 free! Hand washing, hand sanitiser use, wearing masks when moving around the house, using separate bathrooms and not sharing spaces at the same time was key.

Obviously if you have children, this would be far more difficult to navigate, however this is what worked for us. Read how to self-isolate at home here.

Virtual Christmas lunch with the family.

When to call Triple Zero (000)
If you develop severe symptoms (particularly severe dizziness, drowsy or confused, suffering shortness of breath, chest pressure or pain lasting more than 10 minutes, unable to stand) you should call Triple Zero (000) straight away and tell the ambulance staff that you have been diagnosed with COVID-19.

Other support available
“There are effective treatments available for people at risk of severe disease from COVID-19,” said Dr Shopna Bag, Western Sydney Local Health District’s Acting Population Health director.

Of course, the most effective way to prevent serious illness related to COVID-19 is to get vaccinated and get your booster dose if you’re eligible.”

Dr Shopna Bag

If you need other clinical support or have non-urgent health related questions during isolation, please call the NSW Health COVID-19 Care at Home Support Line on 1800 960 933. For more information, please read the Testing positive to COVID-19 and managing COVID-19 safely at home fact sheet on the NSW Health website.