COVID remains a serious illness for many, especially as we age. Older Australians should continue taking the risk of infection serious, and take every we can to prevent infection, as well as keeping our boosters up to date in case we do get sick.
Here are our top tips for what older Australians should do about COVID this winter:
Make sure your vaccinations are up to date
Its recommended that all older Australians should have had four COVID shots by now. People over 30 can also get a fourth shot, as well as those with comorbidities and complex health needs.
Not enough Australians have had their fourth shot. Don’t just get it yourself, make sure you speak to the people you love, and encourage them to get it too.
More information is available here: https://www.health.gov.au/initiatives-and-programs/covid-19-vaccines/getting-your-vaccination/before
Also, don’t forget to get your annual flu shot ASAP.
Protect yourself and others from COVID-19
There are important steps you should take to protect yourself and those who are most at risk of COVID-19.
Hygiene – including hand hygiene
Wearing a mask
More information is available here: https://www.health.gov.au/health-alerts/covid-19/protect-yourself-and-others#masks
Testing for COVID-19
Many older Australians are eligible for free Rapid Antigen Tests (RATs).
Each state has their own rules, to find out more about eligibility for free RATs visit your state’s information:
- Australian Capital Territory
- New South Wales,
- Northern Territory,
- South Australia,
- Western Australia.
It is important to make sure you have access to tests before you are exposed to COVID. To find about how else to get tested, there is more information available here: https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/covid-19/testing
COVID Treatments (oral drugs within first few days)
Antiviral treatments taken as capsules or tablets may help stop COVID-19 infection from becoming severe. Courses of these antiviral treatments need to be started as soon as possible after symptoms from COVID-19 begin.
Information about eligibility, and how to get antivirals, is available here: https://www.health.gov.au/health-alerts/covid-19/treatments/eligibility
The Older Person’s COVID-19 Support Line has ceased operation. Information about Australia’s response to COVID-19, and supports are now available via the National Coronavirus Helpline – 1800 020 080 or on the Federal Government’s COVID-19 website.
For any other matter, you can contact COTA Australia on 1300 COTA AU (1300 268 228).