Norovirus: How to clean up after someone who vomits
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The UK’s Covid outbreak has reached heights not seen since March this year, breaching the 50,000 infection mark yesterday. The epidemic remains a core concern for national health experts, many of whom have warned against reopening on July 19. Health officials have their attention split between the epidemic and a recent outbreak of norovirus.
Which settings have the highest norovirus cases?
Norovirus infections can cause a range of often explosive symptoms that last for up to two days.
The most common include stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhoea.
The virus is also equipped with enhanced infectivity, allowing it to spread like Covid via surfaces or close contact.
Relaxed Covid restrictions have recently given norovirus infections a window to enhanced public transmission.
Routine surveillance from Public Health England (PHE) recently picked up on a series of norovirus outbreaks across the UK.
Data shows from May to July, cases of the vomiting bug have skyrocketed, now close to pre-pandemic levels.
Educational settings have acted as primary vectors, with incidence highest in childcare facilities and nurseries.
PHE has received a total of 154 outbreak reports in the last five weeks, high above the seasonal average.
Over the last five years, reports have averaged at 53 every summer.
Cases of enteric viruses – the species of disease to which norovirus belongs – increased as a whole from 105 to 236 between May 31 and July 4.
According to The Guardian, two-thirds of these cases developed in nurseries, and the remaining 30 percent emerged in care homes.
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Professor Saheer Gharbia, Deputy Director of PHE’s National Infection Service, said Covid restrictions had blocked the virus’ transmission routes.
She advised people to stay at home if they have norovirus symptoms and not return to work or send children to school or childcare until 48 hours after the symptoms have passed.
People can avoid norovirus infections in the first place with a range of preventative measures.
But the virus is resistant to some staple methods of dealing with Covid.
How to prevent norovirus infections
PHE has outlined the following five methods as effective at preventing norovirus:
- Stay at home if you have norovirus symptoms
- Wash hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and water
- Don’t lean on anti-bacterial gel as it doesn’t work with norovirus
- Use a bleach-based household cleaner or bleach/hot water combination to disinfect surfaces
- If sick, avoid cooking or preparing meals until 48 hours after symptoms pass
- Wash contaminated clothes and bedding with detergent at 60C and while wearing protective coverings if possible
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