Today’s Sydney Morning Herald reminded me of an email I received last week about how important it is to wash our hands. These days you will find disinfectant ‘bubbles’ on cruise ships so that it is easy to disinfect your hands – and that’s great but it is still important to wash hands.
The newspaper today reported on hospitals where there were poor hand washing rates – something that seems so basic, why do people have to be reminded.
Last week I received a news item about Norovirus which it described as ‘the bane of the cruise industry’, though it also occurs after plane trips… and probably train trips as well! In fact anywhere people congregate.
Norovirus (formerly Norwalk agent) is an RNA virus (taxonomic family Caliciviridae).
It is the most infectious microbe known. (It takes as few as 18 virus particles to infect a person via food, water or dirty hands.) Many outbreaks are traced to food that has been handled by one person who is infected.
Typically, symptoms begin with sudden vomiting, abdominal cramps, nausea and watery diarrhoea, although for a lucky few, symptoms can be mild or non-existent. Symptoms usually last 24-72 hours.
Dehydration is the most common complication, especially among the young and elderly, and most people recover without medication and with no long-term complications.
Regular hand washing is the best way to avoid this happening…watch this video from the WHO – it made me more aware of how I wash my hands, I am sure it will you too!!