Norovirus in Ireland: Parents warned not to replace hand washing with sanitiser
As the bug sweeps through Irish schools and childcare facilities, experts warn that hand gel won't kill this particular virus
Using hand gel has become second nature to us all since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak. But, as norovirus sweeps through the country, parents have been urged NOT to replace hand washing with hand sanitiser because, although alcohol hand gels can help kill COVID-19, they don't work for norovirus.
What is norovirus?
According to the HSE, "Norovirus, which causes diarrhoea and vomiting, is one of the most common stomach bugs in Ireland. It's also called the winter vomiting bug. This is because it's more common in winter, although you can catch it at any time of the year."
Norovirus is highly infectious and is easily transmitted through contact with an infected person, or via contaminated surfaces.
"Washing your hands frequently with soap and water is the best way to stop it spreading — alcohol hand gels don't kill norovirus."
What can parents do to reduce the spread of norovirus?
- Stay at home and keep children out of school or creche, if anyone is experiencing norovirus symptoms.
- Wait 48 hours after symptoms have cleared before returning.
- Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and warm water.
- Use a bleach-based household cleaner to disinfect potentially contaminated household surfaces and commonly used objects such as toilets, taps, telephones, door handles and kitchen surfaces.
- If you are ill, avoid cooking meals for others until 48 hours after symptoms have stopped, if possible.
- Wash contaminated clothing or bedding at 60°C.