Healthdirect Free Australian health advice you can count on.

Medical problem? Call 1800 022 222. If you need urgent medical help, call triple zero immediately

healthdirect Australia is a free service where you can talk to a nurse or doctor who can help you know what to do.

beginning of content

Caring for someone with COVID-19

5-minute read

If you develop symptoms such as severe shortness of breath or chest pain, call triple zero (000) immediately. Tell the call handler and the paramedics on arrival if you have COVID-19.

If you are caring for someone with COVID-19, there are things you can do to avoid being infected, and to keep the rest of your household healthy.

How should I prepare my home for if a family member or housemate gets COVID-19?

The person with COVID-19 should have a separate, well-ventilated room where they can sleep alone. They should have access to a separate bathroom if it’s available. If they can’t isolate in a separate room, they should avoid sharing spaces — such as the kitchen — as much as possible.

Shared spaces should have good air flow, such as through an air conditioner or open windows (weather permitting).

Ensure you have enough masks, since you’ll need to wear one when moving through shared areas.

You’ll need cleaning products, including detergent and disinfectant, and disposable gloves, to wipe down frequently touched surfaces often. Buy a disinfectant that's labelled 'hospital-grade' which kills viruses. You can also use a chlorine-based product such as bleach.

Throughout your home provide easy access to tissues, lined bins and soap or alcohol-based hand sanitiser.

Because you’ll need to avoid sharing kitchen items with the person with COVID-19, consider labelling them.

To make cleaning as easy as possible, consider reducing clutter in the home.

How do I care for someone with COVID-19 in my home?

Follow these tips to help ease the person’s symptoms and stop the spread of COVID-19.

  • The person with COVID-19 needs to isolate at home and not go out other than to get medical care. They shouldn’t go to work, school or public areas, or use public transport or taxis.

  • Call ahead before visiting doctors or health clinics to tell them that the person has COVID-19.

  • The person should wear a mask when in the same room as people who don’t have COVID-19. They should wear a face mask if they need to go out in public, such as to seek healthcare.

  • When you are in the person’s room, wear a single-use surgical mask and disposable gloves. This is especially important if you have contact with their body fluids or secretions, or blood. Throw out masks and gloves after use.

  • Clean all 'high-touch' surfaces daily, such as kitchen counters, tabletops, doorknobs, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards and other devices.

  • Don’t share dishes, cups, eating utensils, towels, bedding or other items with the person who has COVID-19. After using these items, wash them thoroughly using the hottest possible setting.

  • Restrict visitors who don’t have an essential need to be in the home.

  • Keep vulnerable people, such as older people and those with compromised immune systems or chronic health conditions, away from the person. This includes people with chronic heart, lung or kidney conditions, and diabetes.

  • The person should cover their mouth when coughing or sneezing and throw used tissues in a lined rubbish bin. They should wash their hands immediately.

  • Everyone in the household should wash their hands often and thoroughly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser if soap and water aren’t available (and if hands are not visibly dirty). Avoid touching the eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.

  • Seek medical attention straight away if the person’s illness gets worse.

ANTIVIRAL ELIGIBILITY — Use the COVID-19 Symptom and Antiviral Eligibility Checker to find out if you may be eligible for antiviral medication.

Learn more about managing mild to moderate COVID-19 symptoms at home.

Related topics

Preparing for COVID

Preparing for COVID

Use this checklist to prepare a kit that will help you manage your COVID-19 symptoms at home, should you become infected.

How to isolate or quarantine

How to isolate or quarantine

Isolation and quarantine help protect you by preventing exposure to people who have, or may have, COVID-19. Follow these steps if you’re a close contact or have COVID.

Learn more here about the development and quality assurance of healthdirect content.

Last reviewed: February 2022


Back To Top

Need more information?

These trusted information partners have more on this topic.

Top results

Resources for Self-Isolation or Quarantine - How to Cope

A range of resources for people in Self-Isolation or Quarantine including self-care, staying active and activity planning.

Read more on This Way Up website

COVID-19 & isolation: talking with kids | Raising Children Network

Help children cope with COVID-19, physical distancing and self-isolation by talking. Kids need good information, plus opportunities to talk about feelings.

Read more on raisingchildren.net.au website

ATAGI statement for health care providers on suitability of COVID-19 vaccination in people with history of clotting conditions | Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care

A statement from the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) for health care providers on suitability of COVID-19 vaccination in people with history of clotting conditions.

Read more on Department of Health and Aged Care website

COVID-19 vaccines | Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care

Everyone 5 years and older can now book an appointment for a COVID-19 vaccine. An additional booster dose, known as the fourth dose, is now available to people 30 years and older. This may be a fifth dose for some people. If you have had COVID-19, wait at least 3 months before getting your next dose

Read more on Department of Health and Aged Care website

Help for Families of a Person in Care During a Pandemic - Dementia Support Australia

The health and wellbeing of people living with dementia in aged care and in hospitals is the most important factor. However, being restricted from visiting a family member due to the risk of infection from COVID-19 can be stressful and isolating for everyone.

Read more on Dementia Support Australia website

COVID-19 FACT SHEET: EMOTIONAL WELLBEING DURING ISOLATION

COVID-19 FACT SHEET: EMOTIONAL WELLBEING DURING ISOLATION As there may be extended time at home in the upcoming weeks with social distancing or social isolation, it is very important to still find ways to keep occupied and connected during this unusual and dynamic time

Read more on Gidget Foundation Australia website

What would happen if I was told to self-isolate? - MyDr.com.au

There's a difference between self-isolation and being quarantined because you are infected yourself.

Read more on myDr website

Managing your COVID-19 symptoms at home | SA Health

It is important to monitor your symptoms while isolating at home. Learn about mild to moderate, worsening and severe COVID-19 symptoms.

Read more on SA Health website

Recovering from COVID-19 | Queensland Health

If you’ve had or have COVID-19, here’s what you need to know about recovery

Read more on Queensland Health website

Palliative Care and COVID-19

COVID-19 & palliative care resources for aged care staff, older persons & their carers/families.

Read more on palliAGED website

Healthdirect 24hr 7 days a week hotline

24 hour health advice you can count on

1800 022 222

Government Accredited with over 140 information partners

We are a government-funded service, providing quality, approved health information and advice

Australian Government, health department logo ACT Government logo New South Wales government, health department logo Northen Territory Government logo Government of South Australia, health department logo Tasmanian government logo Victorian government logo Government of Western Australia, health department logo

Healthdirect Australia acknowledges the Traditional Owners of Country throughout Australia and their continuing connection to land, sea and community. We pay our respects to the Traditional Owners and to Elders both past and present.