Cleaning for Infection Prevention: Norovirus
Norovirus is one of those viruses that infects so many people each and every year. It is spread so quickly and easily that once you realize that it is out of control, it is nearly too late – and you are probably already sick or are feeling symptoms.
Norovirus spreads quickly. It is found in the vomit and stool of infected people. Studies have shown that November to April is the time where many people become infected with this bug. You can get it by:
- Eating food or drinking liquids that are contaminated with norovirus
- Touching surfaces or objects with norovirus on them and then putting your hand or fingers in your mouth
- Having direct contact with a person who is infected with norovirus, for example, when caring for someone with norovirus or sharing foods or eating utensils with them
Did you know that people with norovirus illness are contagious from the moment they begin feeling sick and for the first few days after they recover? Some people may be contagious for even longer. Unfortunately, there is no vaccine to prevent norovirus infection or drug to treat sick people.
So how can you clean your facility to prevent the spread of Norovirus?
- Encourage Staff to Practice Proper Hand Hygiene: Wash your hands carefully with soap and water, especially after using the toilet and changing diapers and always before eating or preparing food. If soap and water aren’t available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer like Safetec’s hand sanitizer.
These alcohol-based products can help reduce the number of germs on your hands, but they are not a substitute for washing with soap and water. (Reference our post on proper hand washing techniques here.)
- Take care in the kitchen:Carefully rinse fruits and vegetables and cook oysters and other shellfish thoroughly before eating.
- Do not prepare food while infected: People with norovirus illness should not prepare food for others while they have symptoms and for at least 2 days after they recover from their illness. Also see
For Food Workers: Norovirus and Working with Food
- Clean and disinfect contaminated surfaces: After throwing up or having diarrhea, immediately clean and disinfect contaminated surfaces. We recommend using SaniZide Pro Spray. It is not just a disinfectant, but it works as a deodorizer as well for hard and soft surfaces.
- Wash laundry thoroughly: Immediately remove and wash clothing or linens that may be contaminated with vomit or stool. Handle soiled items carefully—try not to shake them to avoid spreading the virus. If available, wear rubber or disposable gloves while handling soiled clothing or linens and wash your hands after handling. Wash soiled items with detergent at the maximum available cycle length and then machine dry.
Places that are most at risk for the spread of Norovirus include nursing homes, cruise ships, day cares, schools, restaurants, as well as catered-meal centers if the food is contaminated.
Take a look at this insightful video produced by the CDC below to learn more about this virus.