Winter vomiting disease – the most common cause of upset stomach in Sweden

Winter vomiting disease – the most common cause of upset stomach in Sweden

Winter vomiting disease is one of the most common causes of upset stomach and hits every winter, affecting between 3 and 10 per cent of the population of all ages. Outbreaks of winter vomiting disease typically occur from November to April. The virus spreads easily from person to person during the winter season in environments where people gather together in close proximity, for example, in hospitals, nursing homes, schools, pre-schools and nurseries. Winter vomiting disease not only spreads via direct contact but also through airborne particles of vomit.

It is caused by a calicivirus and is very contagious. The onset of symptoms is often rapid. Symptoms consist mainly of vomiting, diarrhoea, nausea, stomach pain, fever, headache and body aches. Symptoms appear 12 to 48 hours after the initial exposure to the virus. As few as 10 to 100 virus particles are enough to cause the illness. A single drop of vomit can contain one million virus particles – and in one gram of faeces from an infected individual, there may be as many as 100 billion virus particles, so it is not hard to understand why it is easy to become infected.

As a rule, most people recover from the illness within one to three days. To avoid infecting others, it is generally recommended that people stay home for one to two days after becoming symptom-free. Unfortunately, immunity (protection) is short-lived after a bout of the infection and is the reason why, if you are unlucky, you can be reinfected in the same winter season. No vaccine is currently available.

How to minimise the risk of infection

If possible, avoid close contact with people suspected of being infected with the winter vomiting disease virus. Of course, you should not prepare food for others if you have, or have recently had, an upset stomach.
To avoid catching winter vomiting disease, it is essential to maintain good hand hygiene. Hands should be washed regularly and carefully with soap and water. In this way, viruses and other infectious agents can be removed purely mechanically and rinsed away. However, this is not entirely sufficient to minimise the risk of catching the illness.

Calicivirus is a virus that lacks a protective envelope. Alcohol-based hand sanitiser works by damaging the envelope that surrounds many types of virus. Not all types of virus have this protective envelope, so unfortunately alcohol-based hand sanitiser is unable to exert its action and render these viruses harmless. This is precisely the reason why alcohol-based hand sanitiser cannot kill calicivirus.

Hydrogen peroxide is a naturally occurring substance found in the human body. Certain white blood cells can excrete hydrogen peroxide in the fight against bacteria, for example.

OXISKIN®PLUS (hydrogen peroxide, H2O2), in a 3% solution which is sprayed on hands, has been shown in studies* to be a safe and very effective way of eliminating a broad spectrum of infectious agents. When used on the hands, it can also eliminate at least 99.99% of all calicivirus particles. After OXISKIN®PLUS has exerted its action, the odourless residues left behind are just oxygen and water. There are no reports of calicivirus developing resistance to OXISKIN®PLUS.

In contrast to alcohol, OXISKIN®PLUS does not dry out the skin, even with frequent use.

Rolf Gustavson

Rolf Gustavson

Infectious Disease Doctor

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Hand disinfection

OXISKIN<sup>®</sup>PLUS DiscTop


100 ml Gel

OXISKIN®PLUS hand disinfectant provides effective protection against bacteria and viruses. Perfect for travel. Can also be used as a wound cleanser.

OXISKIN®PLUS is odourless, non-sticky and does not dry out the skin. After use, OXISKIN®PLUS is transformed into oxygen and water. It provides excellent protection for the skin while being kind to the environment. Any odour that may arise comes from broken down bacteria. Such odours dissipate within a short time and after continuous use.

  • Effective against bacteria

  • Effective protection against viruses such as coronavirus and calicivirus (winter vomiting disease)

  • Prolonged effect

  • No smell, taste or colour

  • Environmentally friendly

  • Non-flammable

  • Will not dry out the skin with frequent use

  • Also effective as a wound cleanser and wound disinfectant

Read more about OXISKIN®PLUS DiscTop