Norovirus: what you need to know
Norovirus, or the winter vomiting bug as it is sometimes known, is on the rise and easier to catch than ever. Don’t let the name fool you; although it is more common in the winter months, norovirus can strike at any time of the year.
How much of it is there about?
Recorded cases rose by more than four times between 2005 to 2012, with last year seeing over 14,000 confirmed infections according to the Food Standards Agency. This however is thought to be a fraction of the true number – as the NHS estimate the total number of annual cases to be between 600,000 and 1 million.
What can I do to avoid it?
The virus is easily spread through contact with an infected person, especially via the hands. Alcohol based gel hand sanitisers or wipes DO NOT kill norovirus. In order for a product to eliminate the virus from the hands it requires the active ingredient Benzalkonium Chloride. Both the EcoHydra Hand Sanitiser and Hand Wash contain this active ingredient, making them effective in killing norovirus.
How do I know I’ve got it?
Sudden vomiting and diarrhoea will make it hard to miss. You may also suffer from headaches, fever and cramps due to dehydration.
How long does it last?
Norovirus usually produces intense symptoms for a day or two, but most will recover naturally. The NHS advise against visiting your doctor - as there is no cure - but also as a precaution to avoid infecting others. If symptoms persist for more than 3 or 4 days, or if you already have a serious illness, phone your GP.
Is it contagious?
Extremely. Norovirus is highly infectious and only the tiniest amount of virus particles (20 in fact) are required to cause infection. Professor Ian Goodfellow of the University of Cambridge has dubbed the superbug ‘the Ferrari of the virus world’ because of its ability to survive for long periods of time either on surfaces or in the air. It’s particularly dangerous in confined communities such as schools, hospitals, care homes and cruise ships. Norovirus docks cruise ships, makes flying horribly uncomfortable and, in the most tragic of cases, can cause death amongst vulnerable groups.
What do I do when I’ve got it?
You’re not going to feel that sociable anyway but stay away from others. Drinking plenty of water is important and painkillers may ease some symptoms. Protect others around you by keeping good hand hygiene and not sharing towels or flannels.
- The EcoHydra Instant Foam Hand Sanitiser is available to buy at most Boots stores. Both the Hand Sanitiser and the Hand Wash are available in various sizes at www.buyecohydra.com