Update 12 December 2022: COVID-19 information for the stroke community
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, with vaccine boosters and antivirals available, the Stroke Foundation has answered some questions you might have. These include:
- Why should I get vaccinated?
- Is the vaccine safe for people who have had a stroke?
- Will I need a booster vaccination?
- Is there a risk of blood clots?
- Is there a risk of heart inflammation?
- What happens if I've caught COVID-19?
- Can I get antiviral treatments?
This information is general in nature, guided by the Stroke Foundation Clinical Council. Please talk to your doctor if you are considering getting vaccinated or have concerns about COVID-19.
Read more: Information for the stroke community about COVID-19
What you need to know about coronavirus
People who have had a stroke should be aware that, just like with the flu, they are at a higher risk of severe symptoms and complications from COVID-19.
Although governments have ease restrictions, it remains recommended to do what you can to protect yourself and others. This means:
- Get vaccinated if you can, and keep up-to-date with recommended boosters.
- Talk to your doctor about whether you are eligible for antiviral treatments.
- Get tested if you show symptoms.
- Wear a face mask where needed.
- Maintain physical distancing.
- Practise good hygiene, including washing your hands, and cleaning things you touch often.
- Avoid visiting high-risk settings if you have symptoms or have been exposed to COVID-19, unless you need immediate medical care.
Make sure you continue to take your prescribed medications and go to any usual or scheduled healthcare appointments.
Stay home if sick
If you test positive for COVID-19, you should stay at home until you no longer have symptoms.
You must not visit high-risk settings like aged and disability care facilities and hospitals, unless seeking immediate medical care, until at least 7 days after testing positive and you have no symptoms of COVID-19.
Some states and territories may have additional requirements, including reporting the results of rapid antigen tests (RATs). Visit your local COVID-19 website:
- Australian Capital Territory
- New South Wales
- Northern Territory
- South Australia
- Western Australia
Who is most at risk of a serious illness?
Some people who are infected may not get sick at all, some will get mild symptoms from which they will recover easily, and others may become very ill, very quickly.
Government has provided more information and advice to people who may be more vulnerable to COVID-19. These are:
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and remote communities.
- Older people.
- People in aged care facilities.
- People with chronic conditions or weakened immune systems (eg. Stroke, heart disease, cancer, etc).
- People with disability.
If your doctor has assessed you as being at high or moderate risk, you can develop your own COVID-19 action plan.
If you test positive for COVID-19 you may experience:
- sore throat
- shortness of breath.
Other symptoms include:
- runny nose or congestion
- headache or fatigue
- muscle or joint pains
- nausea or loss of appetite
- diarrhoea or vomiting
- temporary loss of smell or altered sense of taste.
COVID-19 symptoms are similar to some common illnesses, such as colds and flu, or allergies.
You can also use the government's COVID-19 Symptom Checker.
If you want to talk to someone about your symptoms, call the National Coronavirus Helpline 1800 020 080 (24 hours a day, seven days a week).
Most people who test positive for COVID-19 recover completely, but some people may develop long COVID.
Long COVID is where symptoms of COVID-19 remain, or develop, long after the initial infection – usually after 4 weeks. Symptoms of long COVID can last for weeks or sometimes months, and include:
- extreme fatigue (tiredness)
- shortness of breath, heart palpitations, chest pain or tightness
- problems with memory and concentration
- changes to taste and smell
- joint and muscle pain.
It is not yet known how long symptoms of long COVID will last.
Download a resource on Getting Help for Long COVID
Want more information?
It is important to we all have the correct and up-to-date medical advice and reports.
The Australian Government regularly updates its Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic information. We suggest monitoring their recommendations and acting accordingly.
If you have questions, please call the Australian Government’s Coronavirus Health Information Line on 1800 020 080. The helpline operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
There is a large amount of unverified information circulating on social media. It is important that you seek information on coronavirus from trusted sources.
Information for people with disability and their supporters
People with disability can now contact the Disability Gateway for information and referrals about coronavirus (COVID-19).
The Disability Gateway can help families, carers and support workers, too. The Disability Gateway is free, private and fact-checked.
If you are worried or concerned about COVID-19, you can contact the Disability Gateway in the following ways:
- Phone (free call): 1800 643 787
- If you are deaf, or have a hearing or speech impairment, you can also call the National Relay Service on 133 677
- If you require support in another language, you can use the Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS National) free of charge by:
- calling the Disability Gateway on 1800 643 787 and asking for an interpreter, or
- calling TIS on 131 450 and ask to be connected to the Disability Information Helpline on 1800 643 787.
The Disability Gateway is available Monday to Friday 8am to 8pm (AEDT). It is not available on national public holidays. Find out more at the Department of Social Services.
Information in other languages
The Australian government also has information translated into languages other than English, including: