Spring has sprung on Tenerife. The already warm weather is getting noticeably warmer and in the green parts of the island, the countryside is covered in colourful carpets of wild flowers.
The same can’t be said for Britain where the winter seems to be endless. The long drawn out winter has also meant a long drawn out season for the winter vomiting bug.
This year norovirus has been rife in the UK with over 1.1 million people contracting the virus by January; an increase of 72% on 2012. It seems even the Queen couldn’t avoid it.
There was a dip in January and February but the Health Protection Agency report that March has seen a slight rise again, but only of 6% on last year.
Unfortunately norovirus, like people escaping the cold weather, occasionally likes to have a holiday in sunny resorts as well, including Tenerife where Los Gigantes, Puerto Santiago and Playa de la Arena tend to cop for it now and again.
The bad news about norovirus is that it’s incredibly contagious – one infected person playing free and easy with their personal hygiene can cause havoc. Places where people are found in close quarters are most susceptible, which is why hospital wards and schools are breeding grounds. Hundreds are closed every winter whilst the virus is at its worst in the UK. Similarly cruise liners, planes and hotels, especially AI, are also good hunting grounds for norovirus.
The good news, if you can call it that is, if someone is in good health, the symptoms (diarrhoea and vomiting) don’t usually last long.
“Having norovirus can be an unpleasant experience, but it’s not generally dangerous and most people make a full recovery within a couple of days, without having to see a doctor.” – The NHS
Medical advice states that those affected shouldn’t automatically visit the local doctor or pharmacy as they’re more likely to spread the disease. The best way to deal with it, according to the NHS, is to drink plenty of fluids and take paracetamol for aches and pains. If medical advice is required, use the phone first.
How to Avoid Norovirus – Catching or Spreading it
Maintain good hand hygiene – wash your hands regularly, especially before dealing with food (i.e. scrambling about in the hotel buffet) and after going to the toilet.
Some hotels have handwash gels at the entrance to their dining rooms. But those of us trying to avoid norovirus also rely on others to take more care with their personal hygiene.
One person commented on a travel advice site: ‘We saw the handwash outside of the hotel’s buffet but ignored it.”
That attitude is simply playing Russian roulette with others’ health.
Doctors also advise those who’ve had norovirus to keep away from other people for 48 to 72 hours after the symptoms have gone.
Often when there’s an outbreak, those affected the worst seek to apportion blame. However, ultimately norovirus is spread by people. As long as everyone stops off at the sink and soap after using the toilet there’s less chance of it spreading.
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