Your recovery from COVID-19
With COVID-19, most people will recover within a week or two. A small percentage of people may feel like their recovery takes several weeks or longer, and this is not unusual after a virus. If you still have symptoms after a few weeks, you may be worried that you have "Long COVID".
It is possible to get repeat infections of COVID-19. If you have recovered and are experiencing new COVID-19 symptoms more than 35 days later, you should get a COVID-19 test (RAT or PCR).
It's worth remembering the most likely outcome after COVID-19 is a full recovery. But there are steps you can take to look after yourself as you recover.
Take your time
Ease back into your daily routines and activities (e.g. if you are an active person, you may need to resume your activities at a lower level and slower pace). Avoid immediately returning to the same levels of pre-COVID exercise intensity and activity.
You may have occasional “bad days” where you feel like you have taken steps back in your recovery. This can happen if you over-exert yourself early in your recovery, and sometimes there is no explanation. Most people quickly return to the recovery phase, but you should see your GP or treating medical professional if you feel like you are getting worse.
Help your recovery
If you are still struggling with fatigue there are 3 principles you can apply to help your at recovery:
- Pace: save energy by breaking up daily activities into smaller, more manageable tasks (e.g. break up a long staircase into 5 steps then a rest).
- Plan: plan ahead with your regular activities, including spreading out activities that need more energy (e.g. do the laundry one day and food shopping on a different day. You can also organise food delivery or ask friends for help).
- Prioritise: focus on doing essential or important activities. Use your plan to identify what could be put off to another day or whether family or friends can help.
If you are still feeling the effects of COVID-19, there are several useful resources that you can use to help your recovery:
- Recovering from COVID - Post-COVID and Long COVID
- Recovering from COVID-19 - breathing exercises and physical activity
- Recovering from COVID-19 - steps to recovery
- Understanding post-COVID-19 symptoms and ‘long COVID’ (healthdirect)
- Support for rehabilitation: self-management after COVID-19-related illness (World Health Organisation) (PDF, 2.8MB)
Long COVID Living Evidence Summary
Queensland Health has produced a Long COVID Living Evidence Summary. It aims to provide an easily accessible overview of the wide range of information that has been published on this condition.
It includes tools for people recovering from COVID-19, and for clinicians treating these people.
It will be maintained and updated as further information becomes available.
Download the "Long COVID" Living Evidence Summary .
Three months or more after COVID-19
Queensland Health undertook a research project to understand the impact of long COVID on Queenslanders 3 months after a positive PCR test for COVID-19. It compared the impacts with those that follow influenza 3 months after a positive PCR test. The need for an appopriate comparator group is very important in long COVID research, as explained in the Living Evidence Summary .
The findings were peer-reviewed and published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ). Please note, these findings should not be interpreted as the rate of long COVID in Queensland as explained in the Living Evidence Summary. Access the Queensland research into long COVID to learn about these findings.
If you continue to be unwell 3 months or more from your initial infection, you may be part of a small percentage of people who have some ongoing COVID-19 symptoms. In these cases, you should speak with your GP or treating medical professional.
Your medical team may do some tests to see if your ongoing symptoms are associated with another health condition. If they are not, you may be experiencing a longer recovery from COVID-19 called post-COVID condition (also known as Long COVID).
Common symptoms include:
- fatigue or tiredness
- shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- memory or concentration issues (known as ‘brain fog’)
- persistent cough
- chest pain
- joint or muscle aches
- change in sense of taste or smell
- difficulty going about everyday activities such as work or household chores.
Use the resources on this page to help in your recovery. If your symptoms continue to impact your return to your pre-COVID health and wellbeing, talk to your GP or treating medical professional.
Most people who experience a longer recovery get better in time.
Reduce risk of a long recovery
We don’t know why some people experience a slower COVID recovery than others. Some studies suggest you are less likely to develop Long COVID symptoms if you are up-to-date with your vaccinations.
Evidence suggests that resting, allowing yourself time to recover, and gradually returning to exercise may reduce the risk of developing post-COVID-19 condition. The best way of minimising your risk of Long COVID is to protect yourself from COVID-19 itself.
Everyone’s experience after COVID-19 will be different. If you need help, talk to your GP or treating medical professional.
There are support services available to help Queenslanders stay informed about COVID-19 and keep well.
Your family and friends can help your recovery so reach out and ask for support if you need it.
Call Triple Zero (000) if your symptoms are life threatening or you need immediate assistance.
- Managing post-COVID-19 symptoms
- Where to get help with COVID-19
- COVID-19 information for multicultural communities
- COVID-19 information for First Nations people