COVID-19 symptoms – what to expect

If you do not currently have COVID-19 and you experience any of these symptoms you should get tested:

Fever (≥37.50C) OR recent history of fever (e.g. night sweats, chills), without a known source
Acute respiratory symptoms (including cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, runny nose)
Acute loss of smell or taste

Most people will have mild COVID-19 symptoms for up to 2 weeks.  People should generally avoid high-impact activities, weights, running and workouts.

People with conditions such as high blood pressure, obesity or diabetes need to pay close attention as they may develop more severe illness.

Younger people may develop rashes, swelling or blistering on your toes or fingers.

Monitor your COVID-19 symptoms using the My COVID-19 symptoms diary.

Mild symptoms (rest and recover at home)

Mild symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Dry cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of taste and/or smell
  • Diarrhoea
  • Headache
  • Sore/scratchy throat
  • Muscle aches
  • Runny nose
  • Chills/night sweats
  • Vomiting
Worsening symptoms

Contact your GP if you or the person you are caring for develops any of the following symptoms:

  • mild shortness of breath when moving around or coughing
  • coughing up mucous regularly
  • severe muscle aches
  • feeling very weak and tired, but still able to move about
  • little or no urination
  • vomiting or diarrhoea
  • a temperature 38 degrees Celsius or higher
  • shakes or shivers.

Or if you feel that you are unable to take care of yourself and others are unable to take care of you (such as showering, putting on clothes, going to the toilet or making food).

What do I do?

Call your GP as soon as possible.

Severe symptoms

You should call Triple Zero (000) if any of the following happens to you, or the person you are caring for:

  • severe shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
    • becoming short of breath even when resting and not moving around
    • becoming breathless when talking or finding it hard to finish sentences
  • breathing gets worse very suddenly
  • chest pain or discomfort
  • coughing up blood
  • lips or face turning blue
  • skin cold, clammy, pale or mottled
  • severe headaches or dizziness
  • fainting or feeling like fainting often
  • unable to get out of bed or look after self or others
  • confusion (for example, can’t recall the day, time or people’s names)
  • finding it difficult to keep eyes open.

What do I do?

Call Triple Zero (000) immediately if you, or the person you are looking after, gets any of these symptoms. Do not wait to see if the symptoms change.

When you call an ambulance (dial Triple Zero – 000), let the operator know you have COVID-19 so the paramedics know how to treat you safely.

In an emergency

If you experience shortness of breath at rest or difficulty breathing, or if your symptoms become suddenly worse, you should call 000.

Tell the ambulance staff you are COVID-19 positive. If you feel your symptoms become worse, but are not life-threatening, contact your GP or go to a hospital emergency department. An ambulance is not required unless you are seriously unwell.

Last reviewed: 17-03-2022