Dear Parents and Carers,
Below is a fact sheet provided by Public Health England. This reinforces the need for children to be kept away from school until 48 hours after the last symptom of illness. I thank you in advance for your support in ensuring this advice is adhered to.
We reinforce with children the hand washing routine, ensuring they wash with soap and dry hands thoroughly. This is monitored during the year and hand sanitizers are available in every classroom for children to use before break and lunchtimes to ensure hands are extra clean before eating.
Viral Gastroenteritis in Schools and Nurseries Factsheet What is viral gastroenteritis?
Every year lots of children, in schools and nurseries, suffer from diarrhoea and vomiting. This is gastroenteritis and is normally caused by a virus. The virus is known by several different names: Winter vomiting disease; Norwalk like virus (NLV); Norovirus or Small Round Structured Virus (SRSV).
What are the symptoms of viral gastroenteritis?
Symptoms will vary, but usually include either:
• Vomiting (often sudden in onset) or diarrhoea or both
• Nausea (feeling sick)
• Aching muscles
• Stomach pain
• Headache Symptoms begin one to two days after a person becomes infected.
The illness usually lasts between one and three days.
How do I catch viral gastroenteritis?
Humans are the only known source of this type of viral gastroenteritis and the virus is
found in the vomit and diarrhoea of an infected person. You have to swallow the virus to become infected. The virus spreads easily from person to person in the following ways:
• Hands can become contaminated when using the toilet or changing nappies. The virus can then be passed on to others either directly or via some other substance including food
• Virus can spread through the air after someone has vomited. This can then infect other people close by
• Virus can remain on carpets and other soft furnishings for many days and this can infect other people
How can viral gastroenteritis be prevented?
Good standards of personal hygiene are essential in preventing the spread of viral gastroenteritis:
• Hands must be washed with soap and water and dried thoroughly after using the toilet or changing nappies
• Liquid soap and paper towels are the most effective items to use in a school or nursery. At home, separate towels should be used and these should be changed and washed frequently
• To prevent further spread of the virus it is important that any equipment or furnishings, contaminated with vomit or diarrhoea, are cleaned thoroughly
• A dilute solution of household bleach or Milton (follow manufacturer’s recommendations) is the most effective cleaning agent, but can not be used on carpets or soft furnishings
• The bleach solution can be used on items such as toilet seats, handles, doors, and taps. It can also be used on floors and hard surfaces
• Soiled linen, clothing and washable soft furnishing covers should be washed on a hot cycle of 60C (if tolerated by the material)
• Soiled carpet should be cleaned thoroughly with a detergent and hot water (or steam cleaned, if feasible)
How long should someone with viral gastroenteritis stay off work, school or nursery?
• Children attending a school, nursery, playgroup or childminder should stay off until they have been free of symptoms for 48 hours and are well enough to return
• Adults working in a school, nursery playgroup or childminder should stay off until they have been free of symptoms for 48 hours and feel well enough to return to work
• It is important to keep hydrated
Always talk to your GP if you are worried about yourself or your child.
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