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I’m not a doctor, but…
How to stay healthy on your cruise
New prospective clients often tell me that they would never go on a cruise because they don’t want to get sick. News of the Norovirus has been in the news for a long time. The Coronavirus has recently taken over the news headlines. Should we cancel our cruises and skip our vacations or find a different type of trip?
A little background knowledge is probably due here. First, I am not a doctor or an expert in viruses, but I have been reading about the Norovirus ever since a concerned client wanted to cancel a trip because they heard about the “cruise ship virus” from a friend. Getting sick on vacation is not fun and having fun is one of the reasons for going on vacation. Let’s go over a little about the virus and what we can do to stay healthy and active.
Norovirus has been around a long time. It received its name after an outbreak that occurred in Norwalk, Ohio in the late 1960s. I would assume that the virus was around well before that time. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Vessel Sanitation Program, Noroviruses are a group of viruses (previously known as Norwalk-like viruses) that can affect the stomach and intestines. These viruses can cause people to have gastroenteritis, an inflammation of the stomach and the large intestines. Gastroenteritis is sometimes called a calicivirus infection or food poisoning, even though it may not always be related to food.” While unpleasant, the symptoms are normally mild and are often called the “stomach flu” even though it is not related to influenza.
It is normally transferred through physical contact between people of objects that they have touched., but it can also be transmitted through contaminated food. On a cruise, there are people and food everywhere! What can I do? Check out the graphic below but the number one thing is to wash your hands.
Cruise ships are full of food and people. It seems obvious that this is a place to stay away from, right? Well not so fast. According to the CDC, only about 1% of all reported outbreaks happen on cruise ships. According to foodsaftynews.com Norovirus is called by other names including stomach flu, food poisoning and “cruise ship flu,” just to name a few. Maybe the virus should have more names, because the public might not yet understand where they are in most dangeer. Try these: “nursing home” and “hospital” flu or perhaps “party,” “restaurant” and “school” flu — all of these places are as or more associated with norovirus than are cruise ships.
We can catch something anyplace. Take precautions but don’t give up having fun. Wash your hands often. Use soap and water. Use a paper towel when grabbing door handles. On a personal level, I take it a little further. I am a big believer in probiotics. I take oral probiotics to make sure that my insides are in balance. I tend to abuse my gut since I eat about every 40 feet when on vacation. I have also started using a spray version to provide a protective layer in the air and the surfaces around me. Let me know if you are interested in what I use. I am not able to say scientifically or professionally of these products work, but I can say that I have been on many ships and have never gotten ill.
Staying healthy is not just for vacation, follow the same practices wherever you go.
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