Friday, May 11, 2012

Scientists Say Reusable Grocery Bags Help Spread Norovirus

The norovirus can stay in your stool for 2 weeks or more even after you feel better. Hand washing is crucial. This is a horrible virus, that causes diarrhea and vomiting. Most of us live to tell the 
tell. The very fragile person is at risk of dehydration.

There are five steps to keeping your hands bacteria-free :

1. Wet your hands with warm running water.
2. Add soap, and then rub your hands together, making a soapy lather. Do this away from the running water for at least 15 seconds, being careful not to wash the lather away. Wash the front and back of your hands, as well as between your fingers and under your nails.
3. Rinse your hands well under warm running water.
4. Pat hands dry with a paper towel.
5. Turn off water using same paper towel and dispose in a proper receptacle.

Click on the poster for a larger image. Click here for a PDF file. It is crucial for caregivers, and visitors to wash their hands, and clean surfaces with antibacterial agents, as well. Caregivers need to remind visitors, especially professionals who go from client to client, or patient to patient, to simply wash their hands and dry them on a paper towel.

If you are ill
Stay home. Prevent transmission. Stay away from high-risk folks, do not touch them or their personal effects.
If you are ill, sneeze into the crook of your elbow, or your sleeve, not your hand, to keep viruses out of the air. This is how Swine Flu (H1N1) spreads. Do not touch your face, mouth, or eyes. Use antibacterial pumped soap and water, not antibacterial sprays or gels, they do not kill Superbugs. The water rinses the bacteria and viruses away.
When do you wash?
  • Before, during, and after food preparation
  • Before and after touching a patient or client
  • In the bathroom
  • Before eating
  • After gardening
  • After handling any waste - animal or vegetable, e.g., litter boxes, diapers!
  • Often, if someone at home is sick
  • After sneezing or coughing (watch this video, embedded below - The Sneeze: How Germs are Spread! It is a hoot.)

Once area that needs examination, are the reusable grocery bags we all carry
They require cleaning on a regular basis. As with all of the superbugs, many can live on inanimate objects. This girls' team of 17 thirteen/fourteen year-olds, travelled to a soccer tournament. One girl carried the infection, eight caught it from handling the cloth grocery bags or eating the food within.

Read about this study: The study appears here in the Journal of Infectious Diseases

Scientists Say Reusable Grocery Bags Help Spread Norovirus

They were exposed by handling a bag of snacks that unfortunately had been stored in the hotel bathroom. Virus aerosolized within the bathroom likely settled onto the reusable grocery bag and its contents. Matching viruses were found on the reusable shopping bag two weeks later. 

The 97% of people that never clean their dirty reusable grocery bags are certainly not thoroughly disinfecting their bags. The CDC says one of the ways the norovirus can be transmitted is by "touching surfaces or objects contaminated with norovirus then putting your fingers in your mouth." 

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