You probably remember the outbreak of Norovirus just a few months ago. It seemed nobody could escape the sickness that ran rampant throughout the United States. Symptoms of the stomach flu were ailing countless individuals and flooding houses. Glad that’s over. Or is it? Don’t get too comfortable just yet. Several stories have hit the news in the last week about new outbreaks of the dreaded Norovirus. We just can’t seem to escape it.
Last week, two cruise ships caused nearly 400 people to spend their precious vacation time vomiting and suffering other symptoms from Norovirus. And in February of this year, 67 individuals suffered the same fate from eating at the “World’s Best” restaurant, Noma, in Denmark. Following these incidents, employees of both the cruise ships and the restaurant quickly got to work to sanitize everything in sight. These actions were taken because Norovirus is caused by individuals who are infected and have vomited or used the restroom. They have then failed to wash their hands and have handled food or touched surfaces such as counters or door handles. (Remember when your mom told you to wash your hands every time you used the bathroom? Apparently not everyone got that memo, and unfortunately, that means everyone has to suffer.) From there, the germs and illness spread to every person who touches these surfaces or eats the prepared food. It becomes unstoppable.
In fact, over the past few weeks, Queen Elizabeth II has been battling a nasty case of the virus. While most individuals suffer from these symptoms for a few days, the queen has been experiencing them for a few weeks. As a result, she is currently being hospitalized. She is nearing her 87th birthday, and while she is generally in good health, elderly individuals often experience the effects of Norovirus with more difficulty than those who are younger. But never fear, the queen has said she “hates to make a fuss” and the royal family does not expect the illness to last long.
So here’s the lesson: Always, always, always wash your hands. This is especially true if you have just used the bathroom. This is also very important if you are experiencing these symptoms. Everything you touch can become a potential weapon against those who do the same after you. In addition, if you work with food, whether at home or in a food establishment, don’t do so when you’re sick. Ask a family member to make dinner or tell your boss that you need to go home for the day. We have a responsibility to each other when it comes to sicknesses like Norovirus. If we stay home, regularly wash our hands, and sanitize things we touch, we can kill the bug once and for all.