hands-soap

Norovirus and the Art of Washing Your Hands

As we have seen in the news lately, norovirus can be a wicked thing. During the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, almost 200 attendees were diagnosed with norovirus. Highly contagious, it spreads easily and can hit you hard with nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea; it can take down the healthiest of us. There is no specific cure, but keeping hydrated is the most important factor in your recovery.

The fact that you can get if from infected people, contaminated surfaces or food and water, makes it tough to stop. Norovirus is the leading cause of illness and outbreaks from packaged food in North America. Most outbreaks occur in the food services industry, and is spread by touching the food, surfaces or each other while infected.

how to get norovirus
The various ways norovirus can be transmitted.

How to Stop the Spread of Norovirus?

Here are some simple tips to stop the spread:

1. Avoid preparing food for others for 48 hours after symptoms have stopped
2. Wash your hands carefully and often with soap and water
3. Rinse fruits and vegetables and cook shellfish thoroughly
4. Routinely clean and sanitize kitchen utensils, counters, and surfaces
5. Wash table linens, napkins, and other laundry thoroughly

Following these tips listed above is critical in limiting the spread and making sure everyone stays safe.  While healthy people are able to recover on their own, the very young and the elderly may not be so lucky.

Another common place where outbreaks could occur is long-term care facilities. The close living quarters and the nature of these long-term care facilities make them prime areas for serious implications. The outbreak is often started by visitors, patients or staff  who bring it into the facility.

Washing Hands Technique

1. Make sure strict hand hygiene techniques are followed among healthcare personnel, patients and visitors in patient care areas affected by the outbreak.

2. During outbreaks, use soap and water for hand hygiene after providing care or having contact with patients suspected or confirmed having norovirus

Environmental Cleaning

It is also important to keep the environment clean. Here is a rundown of how to clean and disinfect properly:

1. Perform routine cleaning and disinfection of frequently touched surfaces and high traffic areas. These areas should include toilets, faucets, railing, telephones, door handles, computer equipment, and all flat surfaces.
2. Increase the frequency of cleaning and disinfection of frequently touched surfaces during outbreaks of norovirus. Clean twice daily;  clean & disinfect frequently touched surfaces three times daily.
3. Start cleaning the areas with a lower likelihood of contamination and work your way to ones with highly contaminated surfaces such as toilets etc. Frequently change out materials such as cloths used for cleaning.
4. Silverware and dishware may undergo normal processing and cleaning using standard procedures.

Which Test Strip for Norovirus/Norwalk?

Health and safety inspectors will generally insist you test your solutions for dilution accuracy. This is because it is possible to make mistakes and it also adds a further check in case your bleach strength isn’t at the most common level of 5.25% or fresh.  Use our handy dilution calculator for fast and accurate mixing.

Chlorine-Test-Strips-10000ppm-33815-10K-640x480
10,000 ppm high-level chlorine test strips for the most demanding disinfection requirements. Use especially where the risk of organic contaminants is high.

Use our versatile 0-10,000 (10K) chlorine test strip to confirm your disinfection solutions for norovirus (Norwalk) are at the right concentrations.  The color chart has markings for 1000, 2500 & 5000ppm and should work for all the concentrations required.

By following a few key cleanup steps, proper handwashing procedures and checking that everything is disinfected, keeping Norovirus under control is possible.

Handwashing techniques
Handwashing techniques all in one picture.

References:

http://info.debgroup.com/blog/preventing-the-spread-of-norovirus
https://www.debgroup.com/ca/hand-washing-technique https://www.cdc.gov/cdctv/healthyliving/hygiene/fight-germs-wash-hands.html
https://www.cdc.gov/handwashing/when-how-handwashing.html
https://www.cdc.gov/hai/pdfs/norovirus/229110A-NorovirusControlRecomm508A.pdf

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