This is actually a well-timed post. Although it shouldn’t be! Another misconception I had…norovirus only stuck around during the winter months. I was pleasantly reminded by our local newspaper that no, noro does NOT stick around for just the winter months. It’s around us all year. And three wards of our local hospital are closed right now. I remember going to hospital for one of the many appointments with a consultant when I was pregnant. We walked in and there, right in front of me was this huge roll-up banner, 6 foot tall, stating “WARNING, NOROVIRUS”. I remember standing there, doing a “yay, thumbs up pose” for my husband. In reality, there was nothing “yay” about that day. For me, it was the start of a panic fueled hospital visit, an ott approach to hand washing and a few days scaling back on food.
Anyway, I digress, the point of my post on norovirus is not to whinge on about how awful it is and how scary it is. It is. We know that as emetophobes! In fact I doubt there are many people who really want to get norovirus. Instead, the aim of this post is to shed light on some of the media garbage that surrounds norovirus and to remind ourselves NOT to get swept away in the media hype. I also want the post to highlight the importance of hand washing. I think these days a lot of people rely on these anti-bacterial hand sanitizers. The clue is in the name people, anti-bac/norovirus. Get it? You need to find a hand sanitizer that deals with viruses, not just bacteria. Anyways, I’m off topic again, so let’s take a look at some noro facts and figures.
This is written on the NHS website:
“Norovirus, which causes diarrhoea and vomiting, is one of the most common stomach bugs in the UK. It’s also called the “winter vomiting bug” because it’s more common in winter, although you can catch it at any time of the year.”
OK so this says to me, there is zero reason why I need to get my knickers in a twist at winter. They should be twisted all frickin’ year! It says to me that ultimately noro is a stomach bug that, like all bugs, can be caught any time of the year. And this is what winds me up about the media hype around Christmas. It has put a grey cloud over many-a-Christmas dinner for me.
If you take a look at the PHE National Norovirus and Rotavirus Report it tells you exactly what norovirus is doing. At the moment, we are currently 31% down compared with this time last year. You can go in to as much detail as you need on the Public Heath England site. I think one year, when I was at my worst with emet, over 1 million people had norovirus in a specific time frame. OK it sounds a lot but I tried to keep in mind that the UK population is over 60 Million. So when you think of it like that, a LOT of people DIDN’T get noro.
What I hate are the “Daily Mail” type articles which use words such as epidemic and catastrophe. Trust me, I know it’s horrid but it doesn’t need to be hyped up so much. Why not publish articles which give some constructive advice on how to proactively protect against noro, such as proper hand washing. I’d rather see this than the doom and gloom.