Going on a Cruise? Some Tips for a More Enjoyable Journey
Posted: December 13, 2011
Some years ago our family enjoyed a cruise to the Western Caribbean about this time of year. What a delightful change of pace and a welcome change from the weather we have here in Central Pennsylvania. I am guessing many of you will be cruising this year and my hopes are that your experience is as good as or even better than ours. We so enjoyed the beautiful blue waters, the mild temperatures and especially the great services and amenities onboard ship.
As you may know cruise ships have been in the news with reports of outbreaks of gastroenteritis viruses-and 75% of these outbreaks were caused by the Norwalk virus.
If you know anything about the symptoms of Norwalk viruses you know that they are not very pleasant and if you should happen to get this virus during your cruise you may find yourself in your cabin for the remainder of your trip to prevent the spread of the disease. Experts tell us that Cruise Lines are working very hard to educate their passengers and staff in ways to avoid this virus. However in closed communities such as cruise ships where lots of folks share the same facilities, once it has appeared, the virus is easily spread.
So, you ask, what can I do to keep from getting this virus?
First and foremost – Wash your hands, Wash your hands, Wash your hands!! As often as possible wash your hands, and keep some instant hand sanitizer available when washing your hands is not convenient. This type of virus is often spread from touching surfaces or objects contaminated with the virus and then placing your hands in their mouth, or having direct contact with another person who in infected and showing symptoms, or when eating food or drinking liquids that are contaminated with the virus.
Symptoms usually occur about 24 to 48 hours after ingestion of the virus, and you can be contagious from the moment you begin to feel ill and for as long as 2 weeks after recovery.
This virus is especially harsh on children, the elderly and those which weakened immune systems.
So wash your hands often, enjoy your trip and take lots of pictures to help you remember what a great time you had!
Marcia Weber M.Ed. Family and Consumer Sciences Extension Educator for Penn State University
Sources: Centers for Disease Control, FSIS, and Northwestern University Media Relations