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After you have had COVID

After you have recovered from COVID-19 and left isolation, there are a few things you should do and be mindful of in your recovery. 

Returning to normal activities 

As you recover from COVID-19, you might find that you get tired easily or become breathless. This is common after being sick. 

You should take it easy as you return to your normal activities. Make sure you: 

  • get plenty of sleep 
  • eat well 
  • rest if you need to 
  • pace yourself. 

If you have any concerns, you should talk to your doctor or healthcare professional. 

Returning to work 

If you still have symptoms after your isolation period has ended, you should continue to stay home and recover. This should be until 24 hours after your symptoms resolve. 

You should talk to your manager or supervisor about when it is appropriate for you to return to work. 

Returning to school 

If you or your child still have symptoms after your isolation period has ended, you should continue to stay home and recover. This should be until 24 hours after symptoms resolve. 

This applies to early learning, schools, kura and tertiary education. 

You do not need to provide evidence of a negative RAT or PCR to return to school. 

If it is over 10 days since the start of COVID-19 symptoms and children are no longer unwell, they are likely not infectious and can return to school. 

If a child still feels unwell or their symptoms are worsening after 10 days, they should not return to school. You should talk to your doctor or call Healthline on 0800 358 5453

Returning to exercise 

When you have been sick and not exercising or moving around much, your body will need time to get back to your normal exercise levels. 

Your doctor or healthcare professional can provide more advice around how to get back into exercise for your situation. You can find more information on returning to exercise on the Health Navigator website: 

Returning to physical activity and exercise after COVID-19 | healthnavigator.org.nz  

Cleaning and disinfecting your home after self-isolating  

COVID-19 often spreads through close contact with an infected person when they cough or sneeze. Although less likely, you can also get infected if you touch a contaminated object or surface, then touch your mouth, nose or eyes. 

The virus can survive on surfaces for a limited time. But it has a fragile outer membrane making it easy to kill through effective cleaning and disinfection. 

Where there has been a confirmed case of COVID-19 indoors within the last 24 hours, the virus is more likely to be found on surfaces. All surfaces should be cleaned and disinfected.  

If you get new COVID-19 symptoms 

28 days or fewer since a previous infection 

If you get COVID-19 symptoms again and it has been 28 days or fewer since a previous infection (either from when you tested positive or you first had symptoms) and: 

  • you are low risk, you do not need to take another test — stay home and recover, until 24 hours after you no longer have symptoms 
  • you have an underlying health condition or have COVID-19-like symptoms that are getting worse, you should seek advice from a health practitioner or Healthline on 0800 358 5453

29 days or more since a previous infection 

If you have COVID-19 symptoms again and it has been 29 days or more since a previous infection, you should take a RAT. If it is positive, you must self-isolate and follow the same advice as for your first infection.  

If someone you live with gets COVID-19 

Once you have recovered from COVID-19, you do not need to isolate again for 3 months if someone you live with tests positive. 

This is because the risk of reinfection during this period is low. 

Household Contacts 

Long COVID 

Long COVID describes the symptoms that continue or develop after the initial COVID-19 symptoms. This is usually longer than 12 weeks after a person is first infected. 

Most people who get COVID-19 recover completely after 2 to 6 weeks, and make a full recovery within 12 weeks. However, some people report a range of symptoms beyond the standard time of recovery. 

Symptoms of long COVID can persist for weeks or sometimes months. They can include: 

  • fatigue 
  • breathlessness 
  • cough 
  • sore throat 
  • chest tightness 
  • chest pain 
  • difficulty concentrating, cognitive impairment or ‘brain fog’ 
  • difficulty sleeping 
  • pins and needles 
  • dizziness 
  • joint pain 
  • muscle pain. 

For support with management and treatment of long COVID, seek help from your doctor or healthcare team. COVID-19 healthcare is fully funded for up to 6 weeks from the first day of your symptoms or the day you test positive, whichever is earlier.  

You can find more information about long COVID, including more commonly reported symptoms, on the Ministry of Health website: 

Long COVID | health.govt.nz 

Get vaccinated if you are not already 

Once you have recovered and if you have not been vaccinated or had your booster, it is recommended you still get vaccinated. 

You should wait 3 months after recovery before getting a COVID-19 vaccination. 

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