Cleaning Up Vomit Spills
If you’ve had a norovirus vomit occurrence at your restaurant, school, store, etc., there are proper protocols for cleaning up norovirus in order to keep it from spreading. Since norovirus can live on hard surfaces for days, a norovirus outbreak can occur without proper cleaning and disinfection. The following tips will help you clean up if someone vomits at your establishment. You should treat every body fluid spill as if it contains contagious pathogens like norovirus.
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- Use a vomit clean up spill kit. It is important to have the essential clean up supplies in the case of a norovirus vomit incident. Norovirus spill kits are helpful in that they include the basic clean up supplies necessary to clean and disinfect the area. From disposable gloves, mask, eye wear, gown, a norovirus disinfectant, plastic bags, absorbent powder, and more, you’ll be able to clean up the vomit and prevent norovirus from spreading.
- Disinfect the area well. If you don’t have a norovirus spill kit, you can still clean and disinfect the area well. Keep in mind that regular disinfectant does not kill norovirus, but a bleach/water solution will. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), a bleach/water solution that has between 5 and 25 tablespoons of bleach to 1 gallon of water will suffice to kill norovirus on surfaces.
- Clean everything in the room. Wherever the vomiting incident has taken place, clean the entire room, including surfaces and objects. One norovirus vomit incident can launch upwards of 300,000 microscopic norovirus particles through the air. These live germs land on many things in a room, including walls, floors, counters, décor, door knobs, light switches, machinery, and more. Essentially, after a vomit incident, you want to wipe down everything in the room with the disinfectant to kill norovirus germs.
- Keep soiled laundry separate. Any soiled laundry, including things like tablecloths, napkins, clothes, and towels, separate from other laundry. Wash by itself in hot water with laundry detergent and then dry in the dryer on high heat setting.
- Wash hands thoroughly. You should wash your hands even though you wear rubber or disposable gloves while cleaning up after the vomiting incident. Wash them for at least 30 seconds when you are done cleaning the area with hot, soapy water. Have all other staff members do the same.
- Keep others away from contaminated area. Keep customers, students, and other staff members away from the area where the vomiting occurred. Once it has been thoroughly cleaned and disinfected, you may then allow others to enter the area, but have the person in charge monitor the situation for 72 hours to be sure new cases of norovirus do not arrive.
- Send the ill person home. Once the person who vomited has been cleaned up and has washed his or her hands well, send him home to rest. Do not allow the infected person to come back to the establishment for at least 48 hours after norovirus symptoms have subsided.
When you take the time to clean up thoroughly after a norovirus incident by taking these measures, the chances of norovirus spreading are reduced significantly.