When cleaning, it's important to do a thorough job to protect against any and all potential bacteria. But during seasons where one specific virus is at highs and there are outbreaks all over the country, one must ensure that they take extra precaution to protect surfaces and people from it. This past year, Norovirus was specifically problematic across Canada and among workers at the Pyeongchang Olympics. Numerous outbreaks were reported, and many people suffered. Worldwide, Norovirus affects about 685 million people, and in developing countries, it can lead to death. So clearly, this disease is a standing threat, and it is important that it is kept in mind when cleaning. Learn more about infection prevention.
What is Norovirus?
Norovirus is an acute gastroenteritis infection of the digestive tract, meaning it causes vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach pain. It's very contagious and people of all ages can get it. Symptoms develop fast and the virus can linger for weeks even when the symptoms stop after a few painful days.
Often, Norovirus is spread through contaminated food. The outbreaks reported in early 2018 across Canada stemmed from raw oysters sourced in British Columbia.
There is no medicinal treatment or vaccination for Norovirus, so ensuring that all preventative measures are taken is key, especially when it's estimated that Norovirus alone "costs $60 billion worldwide due to healthcare costs and lost productivity."
The best way to tackle Norovirus cleaning
If someone in your facility has or is suspected of having Norovirus, immediate disinfection is mandatory. Wear the proper personal protective equipment and use a disinfectant with a Norovirus kill claim to disinfect any surfaces they touched or were near. Ensure that all items that touched food are cleaned thoroughly as well. As with all infection prevention maintenance jobs, it is important to clean first, then disinfect, and with products diluted correctly.
Swish has what you need. We have a two-step program from Enviro-Solutions® that allows you to clean 95% of your facility with just two products. Step one consists of ES72, a safe, economical cleaner that can be used in a variety of industries. After surfaces are cleaned, it's suggested using ES364 as step two, which is a hospital-grade disinfectant with a 5-minute kill claim for Norovirus. It is specifically designed to remove any traces of Norovirus from your facility, and when used regularly, this can preemptively protect people. Both ES72 and ES364 can be diluted to the exact required ratio with the ES662 dispenser.
Of course, on top of all this, it's important to encourage good hand hygiene to reduce the risk of Norovirus from spreading. Washing hands is the number one way to keep yourself and those around you safe from any germs you may have.
For more info on Norovirus or the two-step program, don't hesitate to reach out as soon as possible. Norovirus is also known as the 'winter vomiting disease' so it's important to be prepared for the coming high-risk months by having procedures and tools in place now.