Norovirus is often known as the ‘winter vomiting bug’. This is because it usually spreads during the winter months, but it can occur throughout the year. It’s the most common gastrointestinal infection in the UK, affecting between 600,000 and a million people a year. The main symptoms of norovirus are nausea, diarrhoea and vomiting. An infected person may also have a high temperature of 38C or above, a headache, and aching arms and legs.
Norovirus can spread very easily from close contact with someone infected, and it can survive on surfaces or objects for many days, so can pass on through touch. The symptoms appear one to two days after becoming infected and typically last for up to two or three days. As with many viruses, there is no specific treatment apart from letting the illness run its course. Most people don’t usually need medical attention unless symptoms don’t improve or more serious problems develop. In particular, there is a risk of dehydration among the elderly or people with other illnesses.
INFECTION CONTROL IS FOR LIFE, NOT JUST FOR WINTER
Online advice recommends anyone who has had symptoms associated with Norovirus stay off work or school for 2 days after the symptoms have stopped, as that’s when they're most infectious. In hospitals, patients are usually isolated for up to three days after symptoms have cleared.
There are some clear steps that any employer can take to limit the risks associated with Norovirus spreading:
- Encourage workers to practice good hand hygiene, by washing with hot water and soap (alcohol hand gels do not kill Norovirus).
- Guarantee availability of washrooms and handwashing supplies.
- Perform routine workplace housekeeping.
- Ensure that surfaces where Norovirus may linger are cleaned and disinfected.
- Promote a general culture of safety, including not reporting to work if sick.
ELIMINATING NOROVIRUS THROUGH INFECTION CONTROL
Cleaning and disinfecting is obviously where React can shine. Our Infection Control Service focuses specifically on ensuring that all surfaces are thoroughly disinfected. We follow our own advice too, and ensure that all our workers are fit and well when they attend each and every cleaning assignment.
Our janitorial and deep cleaning services provide regular cleaning of common areas such as corridors and washrooms too. We have a crystal-clear approach to limiting the spread of Norovirus: we aim to eliminate the virus from surfaces.