Written by Dave Shumaker, father of 2 and Microbiologist at GOJO.
It’s not only cold and flu season; it’s also norovirus season. Yes, it’s that time of the year when we not only hear about coughs, sneezes and sniffles, but the stomach flu as well.
Norovirus, often called the stomach flu, is that nasty winter bug that causes nausea, diarrhea and vomiting and is spread through close contact with infected people. This is why this highly contagious virus has led to entire school and daycare centers closing to control the spread of the virus. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), schools and daycare centers are the third most common places for norovirus outbreaks.
So, how can we help to reduce the spread of norovirus in a classroom? According to the CDC, these are four simple ways to help reduce the spread of norovirus.
1. Wash your hands. Handwashing with soap and water is one of the best ways to reduce the spread of germs. It’s important for everyone to wash their hands at key moments like after using the restroom, changing a diaper and before eating. Also, alcohol-based hand sanitizers with at least 60% alcohol can be used in addition to handwashing.
2. Disinfect frequently touched surfaces and objects such as cafeteria tables, nap mats, desks and toys with a disinfectant and cleaner that is formulated to kill norovirus. This is important since norovirus can remain on surfaces and objects for weeks.
3. Do not prepare meals when you are sick, and for at least two days after symptoms end.1 This is especially true in a daycare setting. Staff members who are sick should not prepare any meals. Germs can be passed as easily as snacks.
4. Make sure anyone who is sick stays home. Those who are infected with norovirus are contagious when they are sick and for a few days after symptoms no longer appear. Having them stay home will help everyone stay healthy.
Whether you think you might have a cold, flu or norovirus, it’s always important to consult a doctor and take precautionary measures to help you and everyone stay healthy and in the classroom while learning.
For more information on hand hygiene and surface disinfection measures, visit PURELL.com.