But totally avoidable.
Even though norovirus is about the most virulent bug there is.
It doesn’t have to happen in the first place – and it doesn’t have to happen AGAIN.
Because the real cause, pretty near always, is our own sloppy hygiene.
Even when it’s running riot – tens, or even hundreds of people down at a time – somebody somewhere didn’t clean something, and the germs found their target.
Mind you, this is not a bug to take chances with. It only takes 10 particles of norovirus to transfer from your skin to your mouth or the sensitive tissue round your eye and BING! You’re hit. Way more potent than the common cold of flu, which needs at least 25 particles – and even then, you have to be unlucky.
Not so, norovirus. Just the smallest contact is all it takes. A door handle, a keypad, a handful of change. Inevitable if you then eat something with your fingers – like a slice of pizza at a fairground.
Hit by our own sloppy hygiene
Easy-peasy fast food – easy-peasy infection. Because washing your hands when you’re having fun is not even on the radar, is it? And how many fairgrounds have proper places to wash your hands?
Or, come to that, how many of us remember to carry around antiseptic wipes or gel, to cover the certainty there’ll be no place to wash up? Or even if we do, to pull the stuff out and use it?
Who remembers washing hands AT ALL when you’re having fun? Or even thinks about the possibility you could run into trouble?
Which is how it happens – in a microsecond. The bug is in you and you don’t even know it.
And you won’t for the next four hours – maybe even longer. For some people, it can be next day.
But then, as all of us know, all hell breaks loose. The most unbearable cramps, violent vomiting, and totally uncontrollable diarrhoea.
Something you ate, for sure. It usually is. So you think back. You remember your last meal, whatever it was – and immediately think “food poisoning”. Something was off, the place was unclean, you’re going to sue them to pieces.
Never a thought about sloppy hygiene. Not the slightest recall that you never washed your hands before the time, or even most of the day. You’ve found your scapegoat, the place that served you last. Badmouth them to all your friends, write a rant on TripAdvisor, sue.
One finger pointing, three fingers pointing back
Because 9 times out of 10, you’re down with poisoned food, not food poisoning. Food contaminated by the germs you ALREADY HAD on your fingers – from the handrail in the street outside, or the light switch by the door, or any one of a thousand other places.
Much more likely though, from residual poo on your hands last time you hit the loo. A yucky thought, yes – but it’s an awkward truth, most of us don’t bother to wash our hands after the loo. And even if we do, most of us never even do it properly.
- 95% of people don’t wash their hands properly.
- 62% of men and 40% of women NEVER wash their hands after the loo.
- Only 12% of people wash their hands before eating.
Five seconds squishing under the tap – not washing at all, just spreading things around. And germs just love warm, damp skin on which to thrive and multiply. We are our own worst enemies.
Which means all those cramps, upchucks and rocket blasts in the toilet are our own doing. We brought them on ourselves and now we’re paying for it – spreading spew and splatter all over the place.
There’s a reason for that too. The exploding violence of spew and splatter.
That’s how norovirus spreads itself. Using your own body convulsions to propel itself far and wide, to infect as many other victims as possible. To spread and hide and lie in wait. To multiply and take over, ensuring re-infection is inevitable.
And very efficient with it too. Not even 3 microns across, this microscopic nasty is small enough to get through the HEPA or High-Efficiency Particulate Air filters in most aircraft, hospital and restaurant ventilation systems – riding the air, lighter than smoke or dust, easily spreading EVERYWHERE.
Which is why so many norovirus clean-ups always fail. They never plan for EVERYWHERE, so the virus boomerangs back.
Hello! Remember me? Enjoy the runs and upchucks last time? Here we go again!
The job wasn’t complete, so it has to be done again. And again. And again. Until either people get their act together, or the outbreak runs out of momentum.
In the meantime that highly contagious spreading misery bug is everywhere. The patches on the carpet, in the loo, on the curtains, on skin, on clothing, in hair, and spinning through the air. Spread as far and wide as violent upchucks and squitters can force them. In cracks and crevices, under and behind things. Lurking on every surface anybody touches – most of all, let’s say it again, spinning through the air.
Regular onceovers are never enough
Which means coming along with a mop and bucket full of Cif isn’t going to crack it. Nor even industrial strength Domestos. Because no way anybody is going to reach all those tiny nooks and crannies, or get into all the corners, or reach right up walls and ceilings into the light fittings, or round all the cables of the equipment in the corner.
Dead easy of course for a microscopic bug wafting on the breeze from the door, settling yards away from the nearest upchuck incident, ready to settle on the first raincoat as it’s pulled off, rucking up together with 90 of its mates as the person wipes her face, in to the body round the eye socket… Bingo!
And that’s even if our poor victim DOES wash her hands. Her fingers might be clean, but the bug is picked up from the things she touches. The norovirus secret, laughing at us.
Except we can laugh too.
Because there IS a way to take down norovirus, tenacious though it may be – even from the air around us, even from every tiny crack and crevice.
Total germ destruction
Fact: no germ comes back from treatment with airborne hydrogen peroxide. A few seconds contact and cells are ripped apart, DNA destroyed – all viruses and bacteria are gone.
And the machine that does it is a Hypersteriliser.
Press one button and it generates a fine, dry mist of ionised hydrogen peroxide – electrostatically charged so its molecules penetrate everywhere, repelled by each other and trying to escape from themselves. In doing so they force themselves through the air, hard up against work surfaces, countertops, floors, walls and ceilings, into cracks and crevices.
The lurking norovirus and other germs don’t stand a chance. With an opposite electrostatic charge of their own, the hydrogen peroxide particles are actively drawn to them like a magnet. Forty minutes to allow proper dispersal for the average room and the place is totally sterile.
No more norovirus, no more comebacks – job done.
Hope you start feeling better soon.
Picture Copyright: ostill / 123RF Stock Photo