Virus Action Plans

He Ako Hiringa
28 April 2023
Virus action plans

Manage patient expectations for antibiotics with our Virus Action Plans for adults and children over 6 months old. These concise, editable information sheets help to reinforce when symptomatic and supportive care is the best medicine.

Individualise the advice by adding the patient's name in the space provided, and ticking the checkboxes as appropriate. You can either write on a pre-printed plan, or complete one online, and download and print it for your patient.

Intended for use once the possibility of a bacterial infection or other illness (eg, otitis media, pertussis, COVID-19) has been ruled out, the plans acknowledge that a person is unwell, reinforce the clinician’s decision that antibiotics are not required, and provide options for self-management.

This resource will not be available after 30 June 2024 as He Ako Hiringa is shutting down. If your organisation would like to host this resource please contact

Download plans - available in multiple languages

Our Virus Action Plans are available in various languages, to help patients with limited English manage their symptoms at home. These documents contain some English words to help clinicians customise the plans for their patients. We recommend that clinicians also print the English version to read alongside, as appropriate.

Chose from the plans below, or, click here to download all at once.

Content updates

12 May 2023: Both Action Plans amended - fever and pain sections separated; cough mixtures removed (due to lack of evidence for efficacy, and evidence for harm). Paediatric plan amended to suggest use of paracetamol OR ibuprofen (the brevity of these plans does not allow for additional safety instructions that are needed if these medicines are used together in children). Both documents now dated May 2023.

30 June 2023: Māori, Hindi, Samoan and Tongan translations of both plans added.

30 June 2023: English versions updated.

17 July 2023: Arabic and simplified Chinese translations of both plans added.

28 July 2023: All (Child over 6 months) Virus Action Plans updated (mention of vapour rubs removed).


We would like to acknowledge the following people/organisations for their input into the development of our Virus Action Plans:

• Lauren Smith, senior practice fellow, University of Otago School of Pharmacy
• Carla White and Susan Reid, directors, Health Literacy New Zealand
• Dr John Garrett, paediatrician, Te Whatu Ora – Health New Zealand Waitaha Canterbury
• Dr Amber Young, lecturer, He Rau Kawakawa School of Pharmacy, Te Whare Wānanga o Ōtākou University of Otago
• Dr Jim Vause, emeritus GP, Māpua
• Dr Neil Whittaker, Specialist General Practitioner, Golden Bay Community Health Centre
• Te Pūtahi Whakawhiti Reo The Translation Service, Te Tari Taiwhenua Department of Internal Affairs