While we were away in February this year, our in laws ‘borrowed’ our house for the week. Which is fine – we’re happy for them to come and house site, it means we don’t have to worry about the chickens, and as it was February it also meant it kept the house warm for us.
On our way home from our trip to Yorkshire for February half term we called to see how their week had been, and they acknowledged that they’d actually been unwell all week, and hadn’t really done anything except eat soup and sit under a rug. Really not nice for them – no one likes being unwell when they’re away, do they? I was in the early weeks of whooping cough myswelf, and really not feeling too super, despite having had a fabulous week away.
So we got home, and though they’d already left the faint lingering scent of antiseptic in the air told me that this hadn’t been some heavy cold they’d had, but a stomach bug. *sigh*
A day later the bags were unpacked, the laundry mountain conquered… and the husband was saying he really didn’t feel so good.
Cue one week’s worth of norovirus, courtesy of leftover germs.
Man, he was sick.
And alongside my concern for him (did I say how sick he was? So so ill), was a deep determination that we wouldn’t then fall like a house of cards, all six of us succumbing in turn. There are times when it’s unavoidable – some virus tend to sweep through us all; when you’re sharing the same house it’s tricky to isolate yourself completely.
But I know that norovirus hangs around – if the sufferer doesn’t manage to clean everything they’ve come into contact with, then the infections sits and waits for the next person to touch it – and off it goes again.
I presumed that there were leftovers somewhere in the house from the inlaws bout – doorknobs, banisters, toilet handle… I didn’t care what it might be, I needed it gone. Fast.
So I cleaned like a mad woman. Every surface I could find was sprayed and scrubbed.
Handwashing with old fashioned soap (more effective then any special blend of hand gel, fyi) was enforced with stern warnings, and anti-viral foam was distributed frequently.
Thankfully, it worked – only the husband suffered, and even my already-battered system which was still in the throes of whooping cough managed not to succumb.
I think most of us presume we’re pretty hygienic, and I know my in laws were mortified that they left the virus behind in the house. But those extra hygiene steps really do make a massive amount of difference – something like norovirus is simply no small thing if you’re a tiny baby or elderly or infirm.
And it’s a massive issue the whole world over, not just here in the LittleStuff house.
The Global Hygiene Council have launched the ‘Small Steps for Big Change’ campaign to raise awareness of the risks that children across the world face and to focus attention on the basic hygiene changes that need to happen to keep children healthy. Common infections such as diarrhoea and pneumonia are responsible for millions of missed school days across the world, and approximately 30% of childhood deaths in developing nations.
Simple steps like covering the mouth when coughing, hand washing or using a hand sanitiser can have a huge impact on children’s health (and the incidences of diarrhoea, colds and flu).
The GHC ‘Small Steps for Big Change’ report has highlighted the five areas where improved hygiene can have the biggest impact on children’s health.