Saturday, January 5, 2013
HOW TO STAY HEALTHY ON A CRUISE
Many of my friends and some of my relatives love cruising. But what was meant to be a healthy and relaxing rest has sometimes turned into a nightmare experience. Usually Norovirus has been the cause (see previous posts).
So how do you avoid getting sick on board? Here are five things that may help:
1. Check out your ship's sanitation score, as assessed by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) under its Vessel Sanitation Programme (VSP). Here's the link: http://wwwn.cdc.gov/InspectionQueryTool/InspectionSearch.aspx. A score of 85 or below, should be seen as a warning sign, particularly if the same ship has scored low over the past years. But - I need to add that such inspections have not always been a good indicator of likely outbreaks (see my two posts of 2/13/12 - "Princess Cruises Ships Scored 100 for Sanitation," and "Are Cruise Ship Sanitation Inspections Working."
2. Check out if the ship you are interested in has had any large outbreaks in recent months (http://www.cdc.gov/nceh/vsp/surv/gilist.htm). Thorough cleanup of the ship does occur after a large outbreak, but does not always eliminate all viruses.
3. Make sure you yourself are not suffering from a weak immune system when you take a cruise. If you are, these crowded conditions will be more risky to you than to someone who is better able to resist infection.
4. Use safe practices while on board. I have blogged these earlier, so will not repeat. See: "More Advice on Avoiding Sickness on a Cruise" of 2/11/12.
5. If an outbreak does occur on board, avoid contact with sick people and places where viruses or bacteria could lodge as much as possible. See above post of 2/11/12 for more.
To your good health,