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Greater Wellington
COVID-19 Hub

Recovering from COVID-19

Most people recover completely from COVID-19 and return to normal health. However it is not uncommon to be feeling symptoms for up to four weeks.

This is not necessarily long COVID-19. It is likely to be your body’s natural response to fighting a viral infection.

You will probably feel fatigued. You might find that you’re sleeping a lot or you may feel unsteady on your feet. Standing for long periods may be difficult. COVID-19 can also affect your ability to concentrate and your memory.

You need to give your body time to heal. Don’t try to do too much.

Rest. Rest. Rest.

This will help you recover faster and may help you avoid getting long COVID. Download this handy tip sheet on managing your symptoms as you recover. Keeping track of your symptoms can also help you identify if they are changing or getting worse over time.

If your symptoms are not going away, stay at home as much as you can, and continue to self-isolate. Talk to your employer about your situation as there may be different levels of support you and your employer can access to help.

You’ll find advice for employers, employees and businesses here.

If your symptoms get worse call your GP, iwi health provider or Healthline on 0800 358 5453.

If you or a family member becomes very unwell, has difficulty breathing or feels unsafe, immediately call 111.

Isolation support

There is extra support available to help you and your whanau isolate safely. Anyone can request it, you do not need to be on a benefit.

Getting vaccinated

Vaccination is still the best tool we have to protect ourselves against COVID-19.

Getting tested

Rapid antigen tests are now the most common way of confirming you have COVID-19. They are free.

Managing fatigue

Fatigue is a feeling of exhaustion that does not get better with sleep. It can be physical or mental fatigue. It can change at different times and isn’t the same for everyone.

  • Pace yourself.
  • Avoid lifting or moving items that may place strain on your body.
  • Break up your daily activities into smaller, more manageable tasks.
  • Spread activities that more energy such as grocery shopping and laundry across the week.

Get plenty of rest in between.

Find out more about managing fatigue.

Coughing and breathlessness

COVID-19 mainly affects your lungs. You may have a persistent cough and trouble catching your breath.

Try breathing control exercises and positions that will help clear your chest and improve breathlessness. Lying down as flat as possible can help reduce your heart rate and drain built-up phlegm.

Sucking a teaspoon of honey, gargling with warm water or sipping warm fluids will help sooth a sore throat and ease coughing.

Mental health and wellbeing

Many people recovering from COVID-19 experience low moods, anxiety, and difficulty sleeping. Speak to your GP if your mental health worsens or you have concerns.

Reach out if you need support. There are a number of free services that can help:

Call or text 1737 for free, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to talk to a trained counsellor for support with grief, anxiety, distress or mental wellbeing.

Lifeline. Freephone 0800 543 354 or text HELP (4357) to talk to a counsellor or trained volunteers.

Depression Helpline. Freephone 0800 111 757 or free text 4202 to talk to a trained counsellor.

OUTLine NZ. Freephone 0800 688 5463 for confidential, free LGBTIQ+ support from a trained volunteer. This service is available from 6–9pm every evening.

There are lots more tips and resources online.

Exercise and nutrition

Good nutrition, hydration and exercise are important for your overall health and are vital to your recovery. But it's important to remember that you are recovering from an illness and you will need to ease back into your normal activities.

You may have lost your appetite, along with your senses of taste and smell. It’s important to continue to eat and drink regularly throughout the day.

Returning to exercise

Spending time in hospital or being ill at home with COVID-19 can cause your muscles to become weaker. Exercise is important for regaining your muscle strength and endurance. BUT it can lead to muscle and joint pain and add to your feelings of fatigue. It needs to be safely managed alongside your other COVID-19 symptoms.

Slowly and gently add exercise into your daily routine. Gradually increasing from gentle low-intensity exercises and activities through to moderate and then normal activity.

Listen to your body. Pace yourself.

For a more detailed phased approach, head here.


COVID-19 first emerged at the end of 2019 so there is still limited information on the potential long-term health outcomes of the virus. This is now an important area of international scientific research.

Long COVID is a term used to describe symptoms that continue for more than four weeks after the initial infection. Fatigue and the ability to concentrate are the most common symptoms being reported at this stage in the pandemic.

Ongoing symptoms can vary. People can have some or all of the most common symptoms. It is important to check with your doctor before assuming everything you’re feeling is due to a COVID-19 infection.

Take a look at this tip sheet. Or head here for more detailed information and advice.