When a traveling mom sets off on vacation, the last thing she wants to deal with is an outbreak of a contagious gastrointestinal virus. The increased media coverage about norovirus recently reminds me to dig out my tips for healthy cruising.
Tip #1: It is important to protect yourself and the health of others by practicing healthy habits.
Family travelers should find out whether any existing medical conditions could put their own health at greater risk when traveling; furthermore, if contagious, seek medical advice on how your health could impact others they may encounter.
Common sense measures, like frequent hand-washing – especially after going to the restroom and before eating food – will help prevent the onset of more common communicable illnesses. In addition, use alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Avoid shaking hands during outbreaks.
Tip #2: Be prepared. Bring some supplies.
I suggest bringing your own disposable antibacterial wipes and wipe down all the surface areas in your cabin upon embarkation. Although the cruise line does a very thorough job sanitizing the cabin before you arrive, it does not hurt to do a secondary wipe-down of the phone, door knobs, balcony doors, and the bathroom.
Tip #3: Know the facts.
The overall frequency of norovirus on cruise ships remains about the same as in other areas where close contact occurs.
Norovirus outbreaks occur more often where there are more people in a small area, such as nursing homes, restaurants, catered events and cruise ships.
The cruise industry is under increased scrutiny. Health officials track illness on cruise ships. Therefore, outbreaks are found and reported more quickly on a cruise ship than on land.
Government agencies assist the cruise industry to prevent and control the introduction, transmission, and spread of gastrointestinal illnesses on cruise ships.