With the constant changes and challenges that come with COVID-19, it’s important that we all do our best to safeguard our health and prepare for the possibility of contracting it.
While vaccinations are incredibly helpful at minimising both the risk of catching COVID-19 and the severity of symptoms if you do catch it, it also helps to prepare for the possibility effectively. That way, you will be more likely to recover quickly and get back to normal life as soon as possible.
Prepare your COVID-19 emergency kit
If you test positive for COVID-19, you will have to isolate immediately. If you don’t have family, housemates or friends available who can bring you medication and supplies, it’s a good idea to have an emergency kit ready to help you get through the isolation and recovery period.
COVID-19 affects everyone differently, with symptoms ranging from minor headaches to a sore throat, fever and blocked nose that may last several days. Here are some suggested medications and supplies you may want to have on hand at home.
- Vitamin C
- Ice blocks or electrolyte tablets/powder (or sports drinks containing electrolytes)
- Nasal spray
- Hand sanitiser
- RATs (at least two, so that you can test yourself midway through and at the end of your isolation period if required)
- Thermometer to check your body temperature
- Face masks
- Antibacterial wipes
As you may find you have no energy for cooking, it’s a good idea to keep some nutritious frozen meals handy.
If your symptoms are mild, you may also start to feel bored during isolation. That’s where a stash of puzzles, video games and books are great to have ready to help you pass the time.
If you do feel well enough, you could even use the time to learn something new from YouTube or sites like Skillshare (taking advantage of free trial periods!).
I’ve tested positive for COVID-19. Now what?
If you’ve had a confirmed positive RAT and/or PCR test, you must isolate yourself in your home immediately.
If you live with family or housemates, it’s important to limit your contact with them as much as possible and only leave your house for testing or medical emergencies. Wear a mask if you need to move in common spaces in your home, and maintain social distancing where possible.
It’s also important to notify any close contacts you may have spent time with in the days leading up to your positive test reading so they can also monitor themselves for symptoms.
Also, reach out to your emergency contacts so they can offer support if you need it. You might need them to buy medical supplies or groceries, or run some errands on your behalf.
The duration of your isolation period and the testing requirements will vary depending on the state or territory you live in. Find more information about the requirements in your state or territory at the relevant links below:
Monitor your symptoms carefully during your isolation period (you can use this handy symptom checker as a guide). While most people can manage mild symptoms at home, you should go to a hospital or call Triple Zero (000) if you have severe symptoms such as significant chest pain, coughing up blood or fainting.
If you need help with your symptoms or looking after yourself at home, you can call the Coronavirus Helpline on 1800 020 080. Telehealth appointments are also available with your GP.
Being in isolation – particularly if you only have mild symptoms – can feel mentally challenging, so it is important to look after your wellbeing too. Mental health support is available should you feel you need it. Check out this page for a list of resources.
What happens if someone in my home tests positive for COVID-19?
Sharing a home with others is a challenge if only one person tests positive. If someone from your household contracts COVID-19, you are immediately considered a close contact, and must also isolate (as per your state or territory’s requirements) and monitor for symptoms.
If you develop symptoms, you must get a PCR test as soon as possible. If you do not have any symptoms, take a RAT at home.
What about the impact to my studies?
Check with your education provider to find out what support is available. There may be:
- Support programs that include free masks or rapid antigen tests (RATs)
- Special rules that apply for attending campus in a COVID-safe way
- Extra time for assessments where you have been unable to attend classes or exams, or complete assignments due to COVID-19 (including being a close contact)
Make sure you know what forms you need to complete and when you need to hand them in.