High levels of norovirus identified along with “other viral conditions”
A letter to Headteachers has been made available by Birmingham City Council identifying the need for hygiene vigilance as schools return for the Spring term – awhile advising that soap and water handwashing is far more effective at achieving this than gels.
Director Education and Skills, Dr Tim O’Neill and Dr Justin Varney, Director of Public Health, in a recent communication with Headteachers across the city, focus on the great importance that must be given to hygiene and handwashing.
The letter acknowledges that many school heads will already have already been “challenged” by the significant number of outbreaks of sickness and diarrhoea – amongst both pupils and staff – which are being attributed to norovirus, which is often referred to as the “winter vomiting bug”. This, couples with a “higher than normal level of other viral conditions” has prompted the call for improved cleanliness.
Drs O’Neil and Varney emphasise in the letter that viral infections in schools and nurseries can survive for long periods on given examples including door handles, table tops, toilet seat and flush handles.
Wash with soap and water – not gels
Traditional hand washing techniques are advocated in the letter.
“Handwashing, using hot water and soap, is the most important and evidence-based step to prevent contamination and spread.”
This is for the simple reason that the apparently more convenient gels just don’t work as well when it comes to infection prevention.
“It is important to note that alcohol gels are not effective at killing many of these viruses and handwashing with hot water and soap is the best way to stop these infections spreading.”
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