The interim Director of Public Health for NHS Norfolk and Waveney, Lucy Macleod, has re-launched a public information campaign help stop the spread of every day infections during winter and spring.
This is a time when illnesses such as flu, tummy upsets and sickness can spread more rapidly through the population.
But public health experts at NHS Norfolk and Waveney say with a little attention to washing hands and good hygiene at home, families can keep bugs at bay.
NHS Norfolk and Waveney are renewing their on-going Germbusters campaign with three simple messages about personal and home hygiene:
- Wash hands with warm water and soap and dry thoroughly
- before eating and handling food
- after using the toilet
- Keep household surfaces clean
- Don’t share towels if you are unwell – keep them clean
A Germbusters ‘toolkit’ has been set up at www.norfolk.nhs.uk/germbusters for members of the public to use. It contains links to videos, factsheets, and helpful hints on how to prevent infections and what to do if you fall ill. There are also useful resources for schools, homes and offices.
Lucy Macleod, said: “With everyone’s help we can keep infections such as Norovirus and flu at bay.
“This is a time when the NHS begins to see more patients who have Norovirus, the family of bugs which cause tummy upsets and sickness. It is also a time when flu can sweep through schools and offices. But we can reduce the number of people who become ill and reduce the disruption this causes simply by washing germs away.
“There are simple things we can all do which can have a massive impact. We cannot see germs but we can fight them.”
One of the most important steps is washing hands before eating and preparing food and after using the toilet. You just need hot, soapy water and ensure you dry them well. Alcohol hand gels and ‘wet wipes’ do not kill Norovirus bacteria which cause sickness and diarrhoea.
On the NHS Germbusters website there is even a video and leaflet available to show how because, as Lucy explained, there is more to it than you might think.
Top tips contained within the NHS Germbusters site specifically in relation to Norovirus include:
- Do not go to school/work until 48 hours after the last symptom. Even if you no longer feel ill, you can still pass the illness onto others.
- Avoid handling or preparing food for others during this time.
- Close the toilet lid and immediately flush away any vomit or diarrhoea to keep the surrounding area clean.
- Disinfect any surfaces that could have been contaminated with the virus, such as washbasins, taps, toilet seats and toilet flush handles.
- Keep contaminated laundry separate from the rest of the family laundry and wash them at the highest temperature suitable for the fabric as indicated on the wash label.
- Ironing or tumble drying clothes will also help to kill Norovirus.
- Any items of cutlery or crockery that might be shared should be washed after each use, in hot water and washing up liquid or in a dishwasher.