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COVID-19: Protecting yourself and others

This online module includes information sourced from the Australian Government Department of Health and IRT.

At the end of the module you will be able to: 

  • identify the basics about the COVID-19 virus, including how it is spread 
  • describe what you can do to protect yourself and others 
  • know what to do if you or others develop symptoms.

Lesson 1: COVID-19 Background

  • Coronaviruses are a family of viruses that can make humans sick
  • The coronavirus disease known as COVID-19 was identified in early 2019 and its spread around the world was soon after declared a pandemic by the World Health Organisation
  • Most people, around 80% who become infection with COVID-19 will experience only mild symptoms and fully recover without any special treatment
  • Some people, about 15% of those who become infected with COVID-19, will experience moderate symptoms
  • A small number of people who become infected with COVID-19, approximately 5%, may experience severe symptoms and get very sick
  • It is important to know how to protect yourself, your family and your community from the risk of infection.

Symptoms of COVID-19 can vary but the most common symptoms are:

  • Fever
  • Flu-like symptoms such as coughing, sore throat, fatigue, headache
  • Shortness of breath

Other symptoms can include:

  • loss of taste
  • loss of smell
  • diarrhoea
  • nausea or vomiting

Some people are at a higher risk of developing serious illness from COVID-19 including:

  • older people
  • those with underlying medical problems including high blood pressure, heart problems, diabetes, respiratory disease or low immunity

Some groups which experience higher rates of chronic diseases compared to other Australians may also be at higher risk of serious illness.

Everyone is at risk of infection.

We all need to be safe.

There are important things that we can do to protect ourselves, our family and those in our care.

Lesson 2: Transmission and stopping the spread

The next section will show you the basic measures you can take to take care of your own health and protect others.

This includes how you can decrease the risk of people in your care becoming infected with COVID-19.

If you have flu like symptoms or feel unwell, or if you have been in contact with anyone who is unwell you should not visit an IRT Aged Care Centre.

You should also follow the government guidelines and get a COVID-19 test.

The most important thing you can do to protect yourself is to wash your hands regularly with soap and water.

This is important because washing your hands kills viruses that may be on your hands.

Click on the image for handrub instructions.

Avoid touching your face as much as possible.

This is important because droplets containing the virus may be on your hands and can be transferred to your eyes, mouth or nose where they can infect you.

Most of us touch our face many times per hour without realising.

Try to stop yourself touching your face, and encourage others to do the same.

Maintain at least 1.5 metres distance between yourself and others, regardless of whether they are coughing or sneezing.

This is important because if you are too close to someone you might breathe in droplets expelled by others.

If you are at least 1.5 metres away it is unlikely you will breathe in droplets that might contain COVID-19.

Help those that you care for by keeping 1.5 metres between them and others.

This is especially important if you’re out and about.

Respiratory hygiene is important because droplets spread the virus.

Make sure you and the people around you cover the mouth and nose when coughing and/or sneezing with:

  • a tissue that is placed in the bin straight after use
  • your bent elbow

By following good respiratory hygiene you are more likely to ‘catch’ any droplets that might be produced, and this further protects the people around you from viruses including COVID-19.

Remind those in your care to use good respiratory hygiene and to clean their hands after coughing or sneezing.

Make sure that when you are out and about you carry tissues for yourself and those in your care to use.

Wearing a mask helps to reduce community transmission.

One way COVID-19 is spread is when an infected person coughs, sneezes or speaks near another person.

The person infected with COVID-19 can be:

  • asymptomatic (doesn’t show symptoms at all)
  • pre symptomatic (not yet showing symptoms)
  • minimally symptomatic (showing mild symptoms).

If a person is infected with COVID-19, a face mask helps to stop them spreading COVID-19 when they cough, sneeze or speak.


Let’s see what you have learnt.

The quiz includes three questions.

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