With daily case numbers in the thousands, many people reckon it’s not so much a matter of ‘if’ you’ll get COVID-19, but ‘when’.
Of course, you may never get infected with COVID-19. But if you do, there’s no need to panic.
Most Australians who get COVID-19 will be able to manage their symptoms at home. The Omicron variant is now the dominant strain in Australia and, while extremely transmissible, early reports show its symptoms are generally less severe than those of the 2021 Delta variant.
This is particularly true for fully vaccinated people. Boosters provide even more protection against severe illness caused by Omicron.
Even if you feel well, if you receive a positive COVID-19 test result you’ll need to isolate at home for a few days. Here’s how to prepare a COVID-ready ‘kit’ for managing your symptoms — and sanity — at home.
CHECK YOUR SYMPTOMS — Use the COVID-19 Symptom Checker and find out if you need to seek medical help.
Checklist — what to buy
You don’t need to max out your credit card but there are a few essentials that will come in handy during 'iso'.
What’s the difference between detergent and disinfectant? Detergents help remove germs, dirt and impurities from surfaces. Removing them lowers their numbers and the risk of spreading infection. Disinfectants are chemical solutions designed to ‘kill’, but not remove, viruses and bacteria. — NSW Health
Do I need a pulse oximeter?
A pulse oximeter is a small device that clips onto the end of your finger and estimates the level of oxygen saturation in your blood, and your heart rate. It doesn’t hurt and it only takes a minute to check your levels.
Some people with COVID-19 will be provided with free pulse oximeters to use at home by health authorities, if they meet certain criteria. However, they’re available for anyone to purchase at pharmacies and online.
Pulse oximeters are increasingly being used at home because of the pandemic, but the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) warns that it’s safer and more effective to use an oximeter at home when your health is being overseen by a doctor. Your doctor can also recommend the right oximeter for you if it’s necessary.
According to the TGA, pulse oximeters may also over- or under-estimate oxygen saturation. Their accuracy can be affected by many factors, such as darker skin pigmentation, incorrect fitting of the device, and whether you’re wearing nail polish or have tattoos.
If you choose to buy a pulse oximeter, learn how to use it properly. Read more here.
For more information
- Contact your GP if you have any questions or concerns about managing COVID-19 at home. If you don’t have a GP, use the healthdirect Service Finder to locate one near you, as well as other health services.
- Check out healthdirect’s ‘Managing COVID-19 at home’ information hub.
- The Victorian Government has a fact sheet and checklist for managing COVID-19 at home.
- Visit the Aboriginal Health & Medical Research Council of NSW site for a COVID-19 plan you can fill out.
- Need to book a COVID-19 vaccination (including for a child) or a booster appointment? Use the Vaccine Clinic Finder.
Want more like this?
For health and wellbeing news you can use, go to the healthdirect blog.