Everyone comes down with it sooner or later. The horrible stomach cramps, diarrhea and vomiting seem to come out of nowhere. People are forced to miss work. Parents are forced to stay home with sick children. Hours and hours of workplace productivity are lost each year to norovirus. It is common knowledge that 2013 has brought about one of the worst flu seasons yet. What you may not know is that flu season is still here! Although spring is on the way and the flu is not foremost on our minds, it is still all too easy to contract this dreaded illness!
The stomach flu that has recently made it’s way around the globe is a new strain of norovirus. This strain was first detected in Australia in 2012. From September 2012 to December 2012, it was the leading cause of outbreaks of the disease in the United States, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
How is norovirus spread?
Norovirus is commonly transmitted via inadequate hand washing by infected individuals. The virus is found in vomit and stool, and without proper hygiene will easily transfer to surfaces such as door handles, sinks and faucets, light switches, etc. The virus will survive on surfaces for a long time, infecting individuals that are unfortunate enough to come in contact with contaminated surfaces.
What can be done to prevent the spread of norovirus?
Proper hand washing is key in preventing the spread of norovirus. EFFECTIVE hand washing is not just a quick splash under the faucet and a shake off on the run. It involves soap, lather and proper technique. Mom was right! Done correctly, hand washing should take a minimum of 20 seconds! That may not seem like a long time, but try to time yourself the next time you wash up!
Cleaning professionals can play an important role in protecting the health of building occupants. The CDC advises cleaning nonporous and high-touch surfaces (e.g., door knobs, light switches, etc.) with a chlorine bleach solution of 5 to 25 tablespoons to each gallon of water. There are also many other commercial disinfectants registered as being effective against norovirus by the EPA. Make sure you read the labels and follow manufacturers instructions when using commercially available disinfectants!
Have a happy, norovirus free spring!
While nothing can completely prevent the spread of the stomach flu, effective hygienic hand washing and proper disinfecting can slow the transfer of the virus from one person to another! If you suspect an outbreak of norovirus (or any other illness) in your facility, contact your cleaning service provider and let them know! Metro Cleaning Service is always happy to partner with our clients to help protect the health and safety of building occupants!
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