Protecting yourself from becoming infected with COVID-19
The best way to avoid infection is to avoid contact with the virus. To do this:
- regularly wash your hands thoroughly —with soap if available, otherwise with hand sanitiser
- ensure you wash your hands thoroughly after touching hard surfaces or having contact with animals
- avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth if you have not washed your hands
- avoid close contact with anyone who is showing signs of a respiratory illness
- avoid contact with wild or farm animals if travelling outside Australia
- monitor the advice for travellers (if you plan to travel) on www.smarttraveller.gov.au
Face masks are currently not recommended as a preventative measure for people who have not had any potential exposure to the COVID-19 coronavirus.
The Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is caused by a new virus that first appeared in Wuhan city in Hubei Province, China. Cases of COVID-19 have also now been identified in several other countries, including Australia. These cases are generally linked to travel to mainland China or exposure to someone who has been in mainland China.
Common symptoms include:
- Sore throat
- Shortness of breath
It can take up to 14 days after a person has been infected for symptoms to appear.
Currently, it seems the elderly, people with a chronic disease (such as diabetes, chronic lung disease, kidney failure or people who are immunocompromised) may be at a higher risk of developing a serious case of COVID-19.
In some situations, you must isolate yourself, even if you have no symptoms. These situations include:
- if you have COVID-19
- you have been in close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19
- you arrived in Australia after midnight on 15 March 2020
Contact the COVID-19 Hotline on 1800 675 398 for advice about self-isolation
If you develop symptoms, you may leave home to seek medical care, but please ensure you call before visiting your doctor or hospital emergency department and that you let them know your travel history.
While the annual flu vaccine does not protect against Coronavirus (COVID-19), it is recommended that everyone receive the influenza vaccine, from May onwards, for protection against the regular flu.