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Bobbing for Apples? What’s lurking in the water

What do Halloween and norovirus have in common?  that time of the year again ,ghouls ghosts and all things spooky, it’s also the time for our not so friendly little bugs to make an appearance .Norovirus-a highly contagious virus ,commonly called The Winter Vomiting Bug, it causes acute gastroenteritis, this in turn leads to severe vomiting, diarrhoea and stomach pain. Like most obligates, norovirus is not fussy when it comes to finding a host, and can be passed through food, water, the environment and can survive on inanimate objects for a short time. The young, the elderly, and the immuno-compromised are a high -risk group, It is estimated norovirus affects 19 to 21million people in the US every year. Some are fatal. A person with Norovirus is most infectious when symptoms appear, but also up to and beyond, 48 hours after symptoms cease. It is important to remember that there are many strains of this virus, so a person can contract it more than once!
Picture the scene
Little Johnny has been excited about Halloween Trick Or Treating, for weeks now. It is his first time being allowed call to the neighbour’s house in his very scary Spiderman outfit. In the week prior to the big event Mum brings Johnny to visit grandma. Grandma lives in a nursing home facility with her friends. While there Johnny walks around talking to some of Grandmas friends. They all give him some sweets, and some let him have a drink of juice from their mug.
Two days later Johnny is violently ill (so is grandma). However, he feels better after a day or so , and mum thinks he is ok to go Trick Or Treating. One neighbours favourite thing to do at Halloween is to BOB for apples. Bobbing for apples is a tradition in many countries at Halloween. Johnny is excited to play this game as the prize is a great big box of (unwrapped , un -labelled) sweets.
All the children are very enthusiastic in their attempts to get the apples, one after the other they all plunge their heads into the bowl of water with the apples bobbing in it. Johnny gets the prize! The other children and some of the adults get a surprise, Norovirus.
The moral of the story? avoid bobbing for apples? Don’t visit grandma?
Take precautions
Preventing Norovirus;
It is not always possible to prevent norovirus, but following this advice can help stop the spread

·    Stay off work or school for at least 48 hours after symptoms cease
·    Avoid visiting anyone in hospital during this time
·    Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly with plain soap and warm water. Alcohol gels have no effect on norovirus
·    Disinfect all surfaces, objects that could be contaminated
·    Wash bed clothes, towels and personal clothing separate in a hot wash.
·    Dispose of paper tissues correctly
·    Avoid eating any raw foods or unwashed fruit and vegetables

Submitted by Theresa Keane TK Training and FSPA Member