Norovirus alert: Shopping trolleys are spreading winter vomiting bug, health officials warn
Supermarkets across the UK will see hundreds of people come through their doors every day, and with that, hundreds of people using shopping trolleys, too.
The Swansea Bay University Health Board has urged people to wash their hands thoroughly after touching a supermarket trolley in order to halt the spread of norovirus.
The health board said in a statement, “Supermarket shopping trolley handles can be handled by hundreds of people every day, so please wash your hands thoroughly in soap and water when you get home, to reduce your risk of catching an infection like norovirus, and also colds or flu.”
In addition to shopping trolleys, Joanna Walters, infection prevention and control matron on the board, has also warned people to wash their hands after touching “TV remote controls, your mobile phone, light switches, door handles” and not to share towels with people in your household.
Norovirus is also known as the ‘winter vomiting bug’ and the NHS categorises norovirus as “one of the most common stomach bugs in the UK”.
While it’s most commonly caught in winter, you can catch it at any time of the year.
Symptoms of the virus include:
- Suddenly feeling sick
- Projectile vomiting
- Watery diarrhoea
- Stomach cramps
- Aching limbs
Your symptoms will appear one or two days after you’ve become infected, and will typically last for up to two or three days.
Unfortunately, there is no specific treatment for the bug - because it’s a viral infection, antibiotics won’t work.
Bupa advises that the best thing you can do to manage your symptoms is to stay hydrated in order to replace the fluid you’re losing through vomiting and diarrhoea.
Bupa also says, “Don’t take medicines to stop diarrhoea. It’s best not to take medicines to stop diarrhoea, such as loperamide. These only temporarily prevent symptoms. In some cases, they could make you more ill.”
You should definitely stay at home whilst you’re unwell in order to prevent spreading the virus, as it is highly contagious.
How to prevent norovirus
You can undertake preventative measures to try and avoid contracting the virus.
The best way to stop yourself from catching it is washing your hands frequently with soap and water according to the NHS. Alcohol hand gels don’t kill norovirus.
You can also disinfect surfaces such as door handles, taps and kitchen surfaces with hot water, detergents and disinfectant says Bupa. Wash clothes at 60 degrees or higher.