December 07, 2020
Bleach switch leads to sick kids
Auckland Regional Public Health Service is telling early learning services they need to switch back to chlorine bleach for cleaning to counter a tenfold increase norovirus outbreaks.
Medical Officer of Health Dr Jay Harrower says the service responded to 29 norovirus outbreaks in November, 21 in early learning centres.
He says some of those centres had switched to ammonia-based products which where marketed as inactivating COVID-19 coronavirus.
Ammonia and alcohol based solutions do not completely inactivate norovirus on surfaces, whereas regular use of hypochlorite or chlorine bleach products will work for both coronaviruses and norovirus.
Norovirus symptoms can include feeling or being sick, diarrhoea, stomach cramps, headache, low-grade fever, chills and muscle aches.
Symptoms usually last for two days. Good hand hygiene – washing and drying hands thoroughly and often – is the most important action to take in preventing spread of the virus.
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