Your recovery from COVID-19

While every person is different, several weeks of even a few months can pass before you begin to feel like you did "before COVID." A longer-than-expected recovery is not unusual with viruses.

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 months. If you still have symptoms after a few weeks, you may be worried that you have "Long COVID."

You can take steps to look after yourself while you recover from COVID-19.

Take your time

During your recovery, gradually 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.

Reconnect with friends and family

While recovering from COVID-19, you may benefit from reconnecting with your friends and family. Connecting with others means you can discuss shared histories, experiences and stories. Sometimes these relationships can help you see that your experiences are not unusual, help you to see issues in a different light and provide valuable support while you recover.

Help your recovery

Recovering from an illness can be difficult but there are 3 principles you can apply to give yourself the best chance 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:

Three months or more after COVID-19

It is possible to get repeat infections of COVID-19. If you have recovered and are experiencing new COVID-19 symptoms more than 28 days later, you should get a COVID-19 test (RAT or PCR).

You may be part of a small percentage of people who have some ongoing COVID-19 symptoms three months or more from your initial infection. 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, concentration or sleep problems (known as ‘brain fog’)
  • persistent cough
  • chest pain
  • trouble speaking
  • 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.

Find support

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.

More information