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Treatments for COVID-19

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

How is COVID-19 treated and how do I relieve my symptoms?

Adults with a mild case of COVID-19 can treat their symptoms in a similar way to how they treat a seasonal flu. That is, rest at home, take paracetamol or ibuprofen to relieve pain and fevers, to keep hydrated and take cough medicine if needed.

Adults with severe COVID-19 symptoms may need to be treated in hospital with corticosteroids, antivirals, and other drugs depending on how severe their symptoms are.

CHECK YOUR SYMPTOMS — Use the COVID-19 Symptom Checker to find out if you need to seek medical help.

What kinds of medication might I be given for COVID-19?

The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has approved certain medicines for the treatment of COVID-19 in Australia.

Learn more here about COVID-19 medications.

Medicines such as antibiotics, ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine are not effective against the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 and are not approved for the treatment of COVID-19 in Australia.

How much will my COVID-19 treatment cost?

If you have a Medicare card, you can access a range of healthcare services at a lower cost or with no out-of-pocket expenses, including medical services from doctors, specialists, other health professionals, hospital treatment and prescription medicines.

If you have treatment as a public patient at a public hospital, you do not pay anything for the medical services provided. Services Australia has information on who is eligible for Medicare and how to enrol.

Costs for many private treatments are also fully covered by Medicare and private health insurers. However, you may have to pay out-of-pocket costs if you have medical treatment as a private patient in a private or public hospital.

If you get tested for COVID-19 at a public health facility, mobile testing centre or GP medical practice that offers bulk billing, you won't have to pay for the test. You might have to pay to see your GP if they don't offer bulk billing, but the test itself is free.

If your health deteriorates and you need an ambulance to get to hospital, you may have to pay a fee — it depends on which state you’re in and whether you have private health insurance.

  • In Tasmania and Queensland, ambulance services are generally free to state residents.
  • In NSW, if you need treatment and/or transport related to COVID-19 — including if you have had an adverse reaction to a vaccine — you will be exempt from paying the invoice.
  • In Victoria, ‘special consideration’ is given if you need an ambulance service because you are a COVID-19-positive patient. If this applies to you, you should contact Ambulance Victoria online or on 1800 990 029.
  • In other states and territories, you will usually be charged for ambulance services.

Looking for more information?

Visit healthdirect's COVID-19 information hub for more answers to questions about the coronavirus, including vaccinations and restrictions.

Resources in other languages

COVID-19 resources in other languages are available from the Department of Health, as well as from the ACT, NSW, Qld, SA, Tas, Vic and WA health departments.

Information is also available in Aboriginal languages (NT).

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

Last reviewed: January 2022

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