COVID-19 positive - when to seek medical advice

If you or a loved one have symptoms due to COVID infection, it's important to know when to seek medical advice. The following video and table will help you know what action to take and when to seek help.

Check if you need medicine to treat COVID-19

There are free medicines available for people who are most at risk of severe illness with COVID-19. You need to start these within the first 5 days of developing COVID-19 symptoms.

If you test positive for COVID-19 and have other health issues or long-term conditions, talk to your GP, community pharmacy, or health care provider as soon as possible. They will advise if COVID-19 medicines are suitable for you. Read more about antiviral medicines for COVID-19 infection.

When to seek medical advice

(Source: Health Navigator NZ, January 2022)

View transcript

Call 111 if you:

  • have severe trouble breathing or severe chest pain
  • are very confused or not thinking clearly
  • feel faint or pass out (lose consciousness).   

Call your healthcare team if:

  • you have new or more trouble breathing
  • your symptoms are getting worse
  • you start getting better and then get worse
  • you have symptoms of severe dehydration such as:
    • having a very dry mouth
    • passing only a little urine (pee)
    • feeling very light-headed.   

You may experience very mild or no symptoms.

  • It is important to stay hydrated – drink plenty of fluids.  
  • Keep monitoring your symptoms so you notice any changes.
  • It is important to avoid running, strenuous exercise and high impact activities until you are totally well.


  1. Steam inhalation and paediatric burns during the COVID-19 pandemic The Lancet, May 2020
Credits: Health Navigator Editorial Team.