Norovirus warning: Highly contagious winter vomiting bug spread through shopping trolleys

Shoppers are being urged to wash their hands thoroughly after visiting the supermarket to try to halt the spread of the dreaded norovirus. Swansea Bay University Health Board said shoppers should be aware of the vast number of people handling trolleys every day, potentially carrying bugs and viruses.

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Supermarket shopping trolley handles can be handled by hundreds of people every day

Swansea Bay University Health Board

It said: “Supermarket shopping trolley handles can be handled by hundreds of people every day.

“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.”

Joanna Walters, the health board‘s infection prevention and control matron, 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 can be spread via the handles of supermarket trolleys (Image: GETTY)

The norovirus winter vomiting bug is highly contagious and can cause sickness, diarrhoea, painful stomach cramps, high temperatures or fever.

It has already hit areas of the UK since temperatures dropped with hundreds of people been struck down with the illness.

Health experts reported outbreaks causing hospital wards and entire schools to close.

Infection prevention and control matron Joanna Walters (Image: ABM UNIVERSITY)

Health chiefs said regular handwashing could prevent the spread of norovirus (Image: GETTY)

Carnforth North Road Primary School in Lancashire was shut after 50 pupils and staff were reportedly struck down by norovirus and at a ward at Cannock Chase Hospital in Staffordshire visiting hours were restricted to just an hour a day due to an outbreak.

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Similar restrictions were put in place at George Eliot Hospital in Nuneaton, Warwickshire, for four days and doctors told patients norovirus was “doing the rounds” in Hull and East Yorkshire.

Rock Ferry Primary School in Wirral also closed last month after a norovirus outbreak meant over 100 children were taken ill. Large numbers of staff were also affected

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    Public health officials said the easiest way to avoid it was by washing hands with soap at frequent intervals throughout the day, making sure cooking and work surfaces were kept disinfected, using individual towels and flannels and avoidig eating raw or unwashed produce.

    The germs the cause the winter vomiting bug are most commonly caused by poor hygiene and can be transferred onto door handles, toilet handles and taps.

    It is also spread through direct with someone infected, with the bug being spread through families and anywhere people are in close for example schools and offices.

    Treatment is most commonly being given plenty of fluids to prevent or treat dehydration.

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    Norovirus can cause sickness, diarrhoea and painful stomach cramps (Image: GETTY)

    The winter vomiting bug usually lays sufferers low for a couple of days (Image: GETTY)

    Most people get over it within a day or two but the very young, elderly and those who have weakened immune systems can suffer for longer.

    A Public Health England spokeswoman said: “The virus is easily transmitted through with infected individuals from one person to another.

    “Outbreaks are common in semi-enclosed environments such as hospitals, nursing homes, schools and cruise ships and can also occur in restaurants and hotels.

    “The virus is usually mild and lasts for one to two days.”

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