Reminder that “alcohol hand gels don’t kill norovirus”
“Norovirus outbreaks in care homes have risen in recent weeks” according to a recent update from the UK Government website – but there are “simple steps” that can be taken to greatly reduce the risk of cross-infection.
Often referred to as “the winter vomiting bug”, norovirus instances have been at a comparatively low level over the last couple of years, due to covid protocols, but this highly contagious illness is undergoing a rapid and unwelcome increase across the country warns the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA).
Increased instances were first noted in preschool and nursery settings says the update – but they have rapidly spread to a significant number of care home environments. This in turn is causing concern that there will be an almost inevitable increase of outbreaks in hospitals and healthcare facilities.
Hand washing with soap and water
UKHSA’s call to action is a very straightforward one.
There is no cure as such says the UKHSA. But there are “simple steps” that can help limit the illness’s spread. In short, it’s good old-fashioned hand washing – carried out thoroughly of course for a full twenty seconds, using recognised techniques.
“Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and warm water. Alcohol hand gels don’t kill norovirus.”
And there are no alternatives, advises Professor Saheer Gharbia, of the UKHSA’s Gastrointestinal Pathogens and Food Safety Directorate. The “quick fix” of hand gels is ineffective against this unpleasant condition she says.
“As with COVID-19 and other infectious illnesses, hand washing is really important to help stop the spread of this bug, but remember, unlike for COVID-19 alcohol gels do not kill off norovirus so soap and water is best.”
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.
Images (above) show Teal’s new CliniWash mobile handwash unit. Wheel it to anywhere it’s needed!
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.