After you’ve had COVID-19

Helpful information on what to do after you’ve had COVID-19.

There are still things you need to know once you’ve had COVID-19, in order to manage a full recovery and understand the rules relevant to you.

Managing your symptoms

Most people with COVID-19 will recover completely within a few weeks and can care for themselves at home.

You may find you feel more tired, or can’t concentrate as well as usual for some time after having COVID-19.

The Royal Australian College of GPs has information about managing post-COVID-19 symptoms (external link) and what to do to help your recovery.

If you are concerned your symptoms are not improving, make an appointment with your GP.

‘Long COVID’

Most cases of long COVID resolve but it is a condition that in rare cases can lead to long term health problems.

A person is usually considered to have long COVID if their symptoms have persisted for longer than two months after their initial infection. Most symptoms progressively resolve, and it is uncommon for symptoms to persist for more than a year.

These symptoms can include:

  • extreme fatigue (tiredness)
  • shortness of breath, heart palpitations, chest pain or tightness
  • problems with memory and concentration
  • changes to taste and smell
  • joint and muscle pain.

If you continue to experience symptoms, make an appointment with your GP.

Your GP may request tests to determine if your symptoms are caused by long COVID or another health condition.

Your GP can also provide advice regarding the best way to manage your symptoms.

Several groups are developing collaborative research projects into the effects of long COVID. These include the Australian National Phenome Centre at Murdoch University and Fiona Stanley Hospital, the Department of Health, Curtin University and PathWest.

COVID-19 testing

You do not need a negative COVID-19 result to leave isolation 7 days after testing positive, if you no longer have symptoms.

A person may still test positive after the 7 days because they can shed the virus.

COVID-19 reinfection

With increasing cases of new COVID-19 subvariants spreading in the community, the chance of reinfection after already having COVID-19 is now more likely. The window for potential re-infection of COVID-19 has been reduced from after 12 weeks of recovering from an initial infection to only 4 weeks.

This means if you develop new COVID-19 symptoms more than 4 weeks after your recovery from COVID-19,you need to get tested (external link) and isolate. If you test negative, stay at home until your symptoms resolve.

If you test positive, follow the isolation protocols for a case (isolate for at least 7 days).

Understandably, this timeframe for re-infection may have an impact on people and local businesses throughout the community with isolation requirements.

The following support is available for people who are required to isolate due to COVID-19:

Getting vaccinated

Even if you have had COVID-19 and recovered, you should have your next COVID-19 vaccination whether it is your first, second, third, booster or winter booster dose. Previously having had COVID-19 alone will not provide sufficient protection against severe disease.

It is recommended that your next dose is deferred until 3 months after your COVID-19 infection to optimise your protection. This is because the gap between infection and vaccination is likely to lead to a better immune response and result in longer protection from reinfection.

Bookings can be made at Roll up for WA (external link).

Useful resources

Page reviewed 5 August 2022