Staying Healthy on your Cruise Vacation
Many people enjoy going on cruises during the winter in order to get away from cold, dreary weather. A cruise can be a great way to relax and visit new destinations without having to arrange for hotels, flights and other expenses. However, cruises can also be potential health hazards. Because travelers are staying in a contained space with many other people, infections and viruses can quickly spread through the ship and turn a lovely vacation into a possible health emergency. Excursions to cities and towns can also bring illnesses aboard. Highly infectious “bugs” such as norovirus or gastroenteritis can cause stomach upsets like diarrhea and vomiting.
Fortunately, there are some simple ways to safeguard your health during your cruise. If you have any existing medical issues, make sure that you bring enough medication to last throughout your trip. For example, diabetics will want to make sure that they bring enough insulin or metformin to cover their usual intake as well as any changes in blood sugar due to increased food intake. Everyone who goes on a cruise should also avoid undercooked food and especially raw shellfish. Try to keep your hands away from your face, and be wary of touching railings and fixtures in public places. If you see someone become ill near you, you should leave the area immediately and report it to the nearest staff member. If you do get sick during the cruise, there are medical facilities available that can help you, but you may end up confined to your cabin for the duration of the trip.
However, one of the most important steps you can take to keep yourself healthy on a cruise is developing a good hand-washing regimen. While you are on the cruise, wash your hands before and after eating, smoking, touching your face, and using the toilet. You should also wash your hands after touching garbage or waste such as diapers.
This advice is particularly timely given that it is National Handwashing Awareness Week, which lasts from the December 1 through the 7. Indeed, whether you are on a cruise or at home, proper hand-washing is a crucial means to prevent disease. You can properly wash your hands by wetting them under clean running water and applying soap. Rub your hands together to form a lather, making sure that you scrub between the fingers, under the nails, on the backs of your hands and past the wrists. You should scrub for at least 20 seconds, or however long it takes you to sing “Happy Birthday” twice. Rinse your hands and dry them with a paper towel, or let them air dry.
Cruises are a wonderful way to relax and reconnect with friends and family. By washing your hands properly throughout your journey, you can make sure that you enjoy your trip as much as possible.