When it comes to November / December each year, the Norovirus becomes more prevalent. Also referred to as the “winter vomiting bug” although, it isn’t just limited to winter as you can catch it at any time of the year.
Norovirus causes diarrhoea and vomiting, and is one of the most common stomach bugs in the UK.
How does the Norovirus spread?
The Norovirus Bug spreads easily, especially in public places. Businesses, Hotels, Nursing Homes, Hospitals and Schools are commonly affected, but anywhere you find humans, the bug exists.
If everyone washed their hands thoroughly and took extra care to be hygienic, especially this time of year, the impact and spread of the virus would be far less.
Did you know: Wash hands for 20 seconds, make a good lather with soap and rinse with water. Sounds simple but the duration and washing method can make all the difference and is more effective than hand sanitisers.
You catch the bug through human contact
Shaking hands is common but any contact with an infected person exposes you. They can pass small particles of vomit or faeces directly to you.
Imagine, you shake hands with someone and later on, touch your mouth (which you do without even thinking) and that’s it. The virus starts to work it’s magic…
Primary Methods of Infection
- Close Human Contact
Operating in a public area (work, school etc) with someone who is infected. They breathe out small particles of the virus, which you inhale. In an office environment, or any public place, imagine how airborne viruses spread quickly and easily.
- Touching Contaminated Surfaces
An infected person carries the virus and whatever they touch leaves the virus in place for the next person to pick up. The virus can survive for several days outside of the host.
- Contaminated Food Ingestion
Poor hand hygiene will cause this and yet again (wash hands people) those carrying the virus can easily pass it via food.
Someone infected with Norovirus is most infectious in the first 48 hours.
Within this period, any human contact is likely to increase the spread. It’s common to see multiple people become infected in care homes, schools and hospitals. It’s essential to be extra vigilant and keep everything super clean to limit the spread.
A nasty aspect of the Norovirus, is that it changes over time. It’s not possible for your body to build up a long term resistance, so it’s something to be constantly aware of as you are at risk at any time. So, be aware and be clean.
Norovirus Prevention Methods
It isn’t possible to completely eliminate the spread of Norovirus, however, the damage can be limited. Follow some simple hygiene tips.
- Quarantine yourself or the person who is sick
- Provide care according to advise provided by NHS here
- Clean all surfaces they may have touched thoroughly (including door handles, light switches, toilets and any and all objects touched by the contaminated person)
- Do NOT go to work or send your kids to school under any circumstances
- Do NOT handle or process any food for others if you have the virus
- Wash your hands thoroughly and frequently
- Dispose of contaminated tissues etc
- Avoid sharing towels, flannels, toothbrushes etc
- Clean ALL exposed cloth material e.g towels, flannels, sponges etc
- Replace toothbrushes
Quarantine the Sick
Sounds obvious, but sometimes the virus spreads due to human failure. However proactive you are in containing the virus, it can spread if someone doesn’t follow the basic rules.
Parents sending children to school because they can’t organise last minute childcare… Amazing how often this occurs and incredibly selfish. The spread of the virus moves to other children, their parents, teachers etc. Take a day off, it’s not the end of the world….
However important that meeting is, however demanding your boss might be, he / she will be better off without you spreading your germs and infecting your colleagues. If they’re not happy with your absence, invite them round to work from your home… Our bet is, they won’t turn up but do let us know if we are wrong!!