Hand washing is essential as illness spreads across the UK
Press reports across the UK are warning of a dramatic rise in norovirus cases across the country, along with warnings that a 20 second soap and water hand wash is the only way to help cut down cross-infection.
The so-called winter vomiting bug is “incredibly contagious” warns a recent report in The Mirror, with Sam Elliott-Gibbs advising that the virus easily spreads in care home settings as well as hospitals and pre-schools.
The article quotes Surveillance Lead, Gastrointestinal Infections and Food Safety for the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) Dr Lesley Larkin, who advised of the importance of good hand hygiene for care home visitors, residents and staff.
“This includes hand washing with soap and warm water regularly and thoroughly, especially after using the toilet or an episode of illness and before eating or preparing food.”
Care home visitors must wash with soap and water
Dr Larkin is also quoted in a Coventry Live article Norovirus outbreak fears – six symptoms to watch out for where she reiterates the hand washing message for care home visitors.
“…norovirus outbreaks continue to be reported in care home settings, so we encourage all those visiting loved ones to practice good hygiene to prevent the spread of norovirus infection.”
Only soap and water washing works against it
NHS Guidance Norovirus (vomiting bug) advises that gels and alcohol rubs are not effective against the illness.
“Washing your hands frequently with soap and water is the best way to stop it spreading. Alcohol hand gels do not kill norovirus.”
The units can provide back-up support for existing hand washing facilities, can be used in rest areas for residents, or in reception hallways for visitors and staff.
They are easy to use and as they can be placed at point of need are ideal for residents, who may have restricted mobility, allowing them to have access to warm water in their own rooms.