Could Copper Help You with Norovirus Prevention this Winter?
November 09 2017
Norovirus is the second most contagious viral strain after the common cold, and outbreaks of norovirus are common in winter because of its highly infectious nature. Typically, norovirus spreads most quickly in areas where there are crowds of people in close quarters, and shared eating, dining or food preparation areas. Common examples include schools, day care centers, cafeterias, restaurants, cruise ships, retirement or nursing homes, hospitals and other healthcare settings, etc.
Norovirus Symptoms and How It Spreads
Video credit CDC.org and you can learn more about Norovirus.
Norovirus is commonly known as the “winter vomiting bug”, because of higher chances of occurrence during winter as well as symptoms resembling stomach flu and other seasonal diseases.
Norovirus symptoms usually last for around 2-3 days, and include:
Diarrhoea, Nausea and Vomiting –A sick feeling accompanied by projectile vomiting and watery diarrhoea could be a norovirus infection.
Other Flu-Like Symptoms –Other than vomiting and diarrhea, you may have a slight fever, headaches, abdominal pain and aching limbs.
Here’s how outbreaks of norovirus can occur:
- Spreads from person to person very easily, and due to its highly infectious nature, it can infect a large number of people at an alarming rate.
- True to its viral nature, norovirus can remain dormant even after symptoms are treated. In some infected people, symptoms might not even show up at all.
- Norovirus can be passed on if a sick person’s saliva or faecal matter enters a healthy person’s mouth, which is why washing your hands properly is crucial.
- Foodborne norovirus is often blamed on food workers, but you can get it even by being in close proximity to a sick person and catching Norovirus from their breath.
- It spreads in public places through contact with an infected surface, contaminated waters or food materials, and a lack of proper hygiene practices.
How Is Norovirus Infection Treated?
There isn’t really any effective norovirus treatment that can cure the symptoms completely, and going to a hospital would only multiply the chances of infecting others. Paracetamol helps with aches and pains. Other than that, stay hydrated and let the “stomach bug” run its course, while taking a lot of rest and eating plain and semi-liquid food.
Prevention is the most effective form of norovirus control, so How to Prevent Norovirus?
- Avoid contact with infected people or contaminated food.
- Clean and disinfect high-contact surfaces.
- Wash fruits and vegetables thoroughly.
- Clean your hands with soap and water regularly.
- Follow a strict hygiene and food safety routine.
Copper infused clothing can also help you reduce the risk, especially while visiting or caring for a sick person.
The Link between Copper and Norovirus Prevention
Lead author Sarah Warnes, from the Centre for Biological Sciences at the University of Southampton said, "The use of antimicrobial surfaces containing copper in clinical and community environments, such as cruise ships and care facilities, could help to reduce the spread of norovirus."
- Copper has powerful anti-microbial properties that can help with norovirus control. It’s also affordable, non-drug, non-chemical, non-invasive, environmentally friendly, durable and odour-resistant.
- These properties combine to make it ideal for keeping any microbial disease in check, especially in healthcare settings where the risk of an outbreak increases because of close proximity between patients, visitors and staff.
- Copper and copper alloys destroy various microbes on touch, making it more effective than stainless steel or other surfaces where the virus can remain infectious and resistant to cleaning solutions.
- In addition to high-touch surfaces such as doorknobs, surfaces, handles and bars, side rails, etc., copper infused clothing, bed linen, gowns, face masks, gloves and blankets can prevent norovirus from spreading.