1. Know the symptoms
Symptoms of COVID-19 can vary from person to person with some sufferers presenting no signs while in severe cases infection can cause pneumonia with severe acute respiratory distress.
People with coronavirus may experience:
- flu-like symptoms such as coughing, sore throat and fatigue
- shortness of breath
2. Know your risk factor
In Australia, the people most at risk of getting the virus are those who have recently been in, or transited through, at higher risk countries or those who have been in close contact with a person infected with COVID-19.
3. Know where to find correct medical advice
"If you’re concerned that yourself or someone you know might have coronavirus, then it’s vital to seek out reputable information and further advice," Dr Keiran Kennedy told Women's Health.
"Particularly if you’re showing cough or cold type symptoms in the context of recent travel to coronavirus-linked areas, or contact with someone who has, then phoning your local health service, hospital or GP is likely the best bet to start with."
Australian health authorities have set up a dedicated coronavirus advice line on 1800 020 080. They will advise you on how best to get tested and limit your potential risk of spread to others.
The doctor may tell you to attend your nearest emergency department – if so when you arrive, immediately tell staff you have had contact with someone with COVID-19.
"Of course, if you or someone you know is significantly ill or showing signs of serious infection then seeking out medical attention as soon as possible is advised," he said. "Any signs of significant chest infection, difficulty breathing, high fever or significant change in health should prompt review with a medical professional."
If you have severe difficulty breathing call triple zero (000) immediately and tell the call handler and the paramedics on arrival about your recent travel history.