With cold and flu season upon us, this is the season to make sure that you and your family stay healthy while cruising. With recent outbreaks of Norovirus, which causes of acute gastroenteritis, there's even more cause for concern when taking a cruise with your family. Although the Norovirus is commonly caused by sanitation issues on cruise ships, it can spread quickly. Make sure your family stays safe on your next cruise by following these tips:
Cruise during the safe season: Did you know most serious Norovirus outbreaks occur during winter? Try cruising during summer or early fall to help avoid Norovirus outbreaks.
Select a cruise line carefully: Royal Caribbean recently received media attention for their Explorer of the Seas outbreak (which caused 20% of passengers and crew to fall ill), but Royal Caribbean, Carnival and Norwegian Cruise Line are three of the safest cruise lines when it comes to number of Norovirus outbreaks (less than 6 each over the past 5 years). Also, when a cruise ship has been affected by the Norovirus, avoid it for 2-3 months. Often leaking sewage systems cause outbreaks so make sure everything is fixed before you board. Contrary to what cruise lines will tell you, Norovirus is highly unlikely to be caused by a sick passenger or two aboard.
Pack for the worst: It's really important to pack the essentials to stay healthy. We suggest packing hand sanitizer to help prevent contamination as well as over the counter pain reliever to help with some of the symptoms of a Norovirus infection if contracted.
Know and report your symptoms: Because most complications of Norovirus involve dehydration, stay hydrated while cruising, especially at the first sign of illness. Make sure to report Norovirus symptoms (vomiting, diarrhea, stomach cramps, fever, chills, headache, muscle aches and/or fatigue) right away since outbreaks happen so rapidly.
Avoid buffets during outbreaks: If outbreak begins, avoid buffets when dining. Food on buffets is much more susceptible to contamination due to the large number of people handling serving utensils and can spread infection quicker.
We're happy to answer any questions you may have about staying healthy on cruise ships! Want more information or advice? Call us at 888-281-8494.
Posted On Wednesday, January 29, 2014