Virus outbreaks on cruise ships have made news headlines recently. Still, while these headlines can be alarming, outbreaks on cruise ships affect less than one percent of all passengers, according to the CDC.
Cruise lines are very careful about hygiene and sanitary measures on their ships. The main health risk on a ship is through contact with a person who is contagious. If one passenger is sick, a contagious illness can quickly spread aboard a cruise ship as it provides the perfect closed environment where people touch the same handles, handrails and elevator buttons.
Global Travel Plus, a global travel emergency assistance provider, has listed a few simple steps you can follow to avoid the flu virus, stomach bug, norovirus or any other infectious conditions while on a cruise:
See your doctor before departure
Six weeks before your vacation, plan to get a full check-up and ask your doctor about your destination(s). Your physician will inform you of all the vaccines necessary for your trip and can recommend some important medicines to bring with you in case you get ill.
Pack plenty of hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes
While rooms are thoroughly cleaned, an extra wipe down of your cabin’s phone, doorknobs and remotes does not hurt. Always carry hand sanitizer with you to disinfect your hands as often as possible.
No matter how much you trust your travel buddies, don’t share plates, silverware and don’t sample cocktails. Remember that a person can be contagious without showing symptoms.
Wash your hands properly
While hand sanitizer does the trick, it does not replace a good hand wash under warm soapy water for about 30 seconds. Once you are done, dry your hands with a paper towel and use it to turn the faucet off and exit the restroom’s door.
Opt for cooked and pasteurized foods
Besides norovirus, other microbes can cause a living nightmare on a cruise ship (e.g. salmonella, listeria). While salads, fruits, and raw seafood is safe on reputable cruise lines, use caution when you are dining on land in less developed regions. High cooking temperatures kill bacteria and viruses that can upset your stomach. Bacteria can also thrive in unpasteurized dairy or egg, so ask the staff if the food is pasteurized before you savor that cheese platter.
Use your own restroom
Although public restrooms on a cruise ship are frequently sanitized and cleaned, using your own cabin’s restroom is the safest bet.
Watch for sick travelers
If you see another passenger who appears sick, steer clear. If you see someone coughing or vomiting, inform a crew member so that they can clean the mess, assess and potentially isolate that passenger.
Use bottled water
While water is generally safe on reputable cruise lines, using bottled water to drink and brush your teeth can help avoid getting sick should a rare water contamination incident occur. Always use bottled water when you are enjoying a day on-shore.
If, after taking precautions, you still get sick during a cruise, go to the ship’s medical center for a consultation. If the medical team cannot treat you, you’ll probably be sent to a clinic at the next port.
About Global Travel Plus
When you’re experiencing any kind of emergency while traveling 100 miles away from home or in another country, Global Travel Plus assists you with relieving the additional stress experienced. Services include medical consultations, referrals, and monitoring, emergency evacuation and repatriation, medical and non-medical escort, assistance with foreign hospital admission and prescriptions. With Global Travel Plus on your side, you’ll enjoy real worry-free travel everywhere in the world in any situation.
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