Warm weather is approaching, which means lots of vacations and cruises are anticipated. Cruises can be a breeding ground for norovirus due to confined spaces making it easily spreadable among thousands of guests. Norovirus is very contagious and can be caught from an infected person, from contaminated food or water, or by touching infected surfaces or items.
The virus causes your stomach or intestines to get inflamed. Norovirus is associated with cruises because health officials are required to track illnesses on ships. Therefore, outbreaks are found and reported more quickly at sea than on land. The norovirus is often referred to as “food poisoning” or the “stomach bug.” Noroviruses are the most common cause of gastroenteritis in the United States. According to the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases, about 1 in every 15 people in the US will get norovirus illness yearly regardless if you are on a cruise or not.
The norovirus is often called the “stomach flu,” even though it is not related to influenza since symptoms are often flu-like. These symptoms include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach cramps. A low-grade fever and headache can also occur. Symptoms tend to only last for one to two days.
Here are some tips for preventing norovirus onboard a cruise ship:
- Wash your hands often and thoroughly
- Pack extra soap, lysol spray, hand sanitizer, and pepto bismol to have in case of emergency.
- Drink bottled water
- Avoid uncooked food
- Take vitamins before and during your trip
- Make sure that your food is properly protected: Notify staff members if anyone is coughing into the buffet or using their hands or other body parts to scoop food.
- Get enough sleep
- Stay hydrated
With the COVID-19 restrictions, there are thankfully many more disinfection regulations and practices put in place on cruise ships. This helps in preventing the spread of any type of virus on board. As long as you are clean, self-aware, and prepared you will have a wonderful cruise.