Norovirus Tips – How To Prevent And Cure Norovirus On A Cruise

Norovirus Tips – How To Prevent And Cure Norovirus On A Cruise

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In this video you’re going to learn about
the nasty stomach bug that is Norovirus. What it is, how to avoid getting it and
what to do if you get it. Hi I’m Gary Bembridge of Tips For
Travellers, and also the author of some cruise books like the “Cruise Traveler’s Handbook”
and “Essential Cruise Tips”. in this video I want to be talking about that horrible
thing that is Norovirus, particularly in relation to cruising. I’ve been on about
50 cruises at the time making this video, and I’ve been on ships when it’s had an
outbreak of Norovirus – and I haven’t caught it. So I’m going to share tips and
advice on how you too can make sure that you avoid Norovirus. The important thing
to know about Norovirus is it’s not specifically related to cruising. The
Center for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States
estimates that probably less than 1% of all outbreaks of Norovirus actually
happen on a cruise ship. Up to 20 million people a year in the United States can
suffer from Norovirus, and one million in the UK. So it’s a big problem. First of
all, what is norovirus? Norovirus is a gastrointestinal illness and cause
vomiting and diarrhoea. You can also have headaches, fever and stomach cramps. As I
mentioned it’s not unique to ships. It breaks out a lot on land, but what’s very
important about norovirus – because it is so contagious – it tends to break out
when there are concentrated groups of people. So things like hospitals, care homes and of course cruise ships where you have a lot of people in a contained
space. Norovirus is very contagious and basically it spreads through touch, so it
you can pick it up by doing things like shaking hands, touching doorknobs –
basically touching anything that has the virus on it. So it’s really really
contagious and it spreads very easily, and it requires a lot of discipline to make
sure that you do not get it. So how can you avoid getting norovirus? Well
actually it’s surprisingly simple. The single most important way of stopping
getting norovirus is by washing your hands with soap and water very
frequently. If you keep doing that, this is going to really minimize your chance
of getting norovirus. When you wash your thoroughly. One of the little tips
that I was given by a captain on board a Cunard ship is sing to yourself “happy
birthday”! That’s going to be about as long as it takes to make sure that your
hands are washed properly. Wash your hands very frequently and avoid touching
surfaces that people touch a lot. So try and avoid things on a cruise ship like the handrails, pushing buttons on the elevator and if you use one of the public
restrooms, when you leave, either you use a tissue or you pull down your sleeve or
something and open the door to leave the bathroom. Try and avoid physical contact
with other people. So you’ll find on a lot of cruise ships
the Captain and the officers when they have the Captain’s parties will not
shake your hand. They might just nod or they’ll
bump elbows instead. Now alcohol gel is obviously helpful, and it it’s important on a
cruise ship, so you’ll find that everywhere. But it’s no substitute to washing
hands with soap and water. Another important tip, and this happens a lot
particularly when there’s an outbreak of norovirus, is if you need to use the
bathroom try and go to your own cabin. Don’t use the public restrooms around
the ship because that could be an area where people aren’t being as diligent in
terms of washing their hands and the virus could be spread. Two other very
important things about norovirus is if you board the ship, and you’ve either had
diarrhea or you’ve had vomiting, when you fill out that questionnaire that
everybody has to fill out before you board the ship… be honest! Because one of
the biggest problems with norovirus is people bring it onto the ship so
ships spend a lot of time cleansing surfaces, trying to keep everything clean –
but if someone boards a ship who’s suffering from diarrhea or vomiting or
has the virus they can spread it very easily. And once it’s a on board a ship it’s
quite hard to contain, so if you do have any of those symptoms when you fill out
the questionnaire be honest about it if everyone was honest about it. It would
probably stop the spread on board cruise ships. The downside of filling it out is
you’re probably going to be quarantined in your cabin for at least 48 hours
until they can make sure that it’s clear. So you might find the first days of your
cruise you’re not allowed to actually get out and about on the ship. However, if
you are bringing the virus on board that’s the best way of stopping it is
being honest when you fill out the questionnaire. The other thing that I
tend to do when I board a ship to avoid getting that the norovirus, is in the
first couple of the first 48 hours / first two or three
days I don’t use the buffet restaurant, because that’s often where people are
congregating also touching different implements – and it’s basically a
place where lots of people are going. So I tend to avoid the buffet restaurant
for the first couple of days of a cruise until the cruise is underway and it’s
very clear that there’s no cases of norovirus on the ship. So that’s another
good way of avoiding it. The thing with the norovirus is it can take up to 48
hours before it actually manifests itself, and unfortunately there’s no cure
for it. You basically have to ride it out. So the key thing is making yourself
comfortable. The minute you start having symptoms
report it. What ships ask you to do is not go to the medical centre but go straight
to your cabin, pick up the phone and phone the medical centre. Ships
generally do not charge you if you report any sort of gastro problems. So if
you have vomiting or diarrhoea, you may also have headaches ,stomach cramps or
fevers, reporting to the medical center they’re unlikely to charge you for any
services that they may provide. What will likely happen is a nurse or doctor will
come and see you. They’ll document your various symptoms and they will probably
give you some anti-diarrheal products. So for example some of the brands or
products you might have heard of are things like Imodium or Diarolyte, and also you will be encouraged to make sure that you stay rehydrated. So
you’re asked to drink lots of liquid or you’ll be given some of the kind of
product which helps reabsorb lots of vitamins and minerals. Any products they
give you and any consultations you’re unlikely to be charged for because
norovirus is such a big issue and ships do not want to discourage
people from reporting it. The other way that is treated is, because the symptoms
can again also last for up to 48 hours, you will be quarantined in your cabin –
and you will be asked not to leave your cabin. They will also come and
wash your bedding quite frequently, they’ll make sure that you are brought meals
to your rooms particular targeting to make sure that you are rehydrating and
getting minerals and things back. You will be asked to stay in
your cabin and it is very important if you do have the symptoms to stay in your cabin.
You’re going to lose some days on your vacation, but it’s better than it
spreading right throughout the ship. There’s no specific treatment, it’s
really just letting it work through your system and using products to make your
life a little bit more comfortable. Don’t let the fear of norovirus put you off
going on a cruise. Although norovirus breakouts on a ship
get a lot of publicity, bear in mind that norovirus is very prevalent all over the
place. It does tend to happen when people congregate, so things like hospitals, care
homes and of course on a ship. So final thought about the norovirus: it’s really
about taking care, washing your hands incredibly frequently, avoiding touching
surfaces, avoiding physical contact with people like shaking hands. If you do have any
symptoms it’s really important go to your cabin and let the medical centre know.
Unfortunately if you do get norovirus you just have to ride it out
and take those various products that are going to make your life more comfortable. I
hope you found that helpful. If you have any other thoughts or tips on your
experiences of norovirus please leave them in the comments. It would also be
great if you gave a “like” to the video and subscribe to the Tips For Travellers
channel here on YouTube and get more travel inspiration, advice and tips

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13 Comments

  1. Have you ever been on a cruise ship that has had a norovirus outbreak? What was your experience and what are your tips based in it?

  2. Very good advice. I do two other things. As soon as I check into the cabin, I use an antibacterial wipe to clean the tv remote control and the telephone(s). These devices have been tested to host more virus and bacteria than other surfaces. The other rule is that as soon as anyone enters the cabin, they wash their hands with soap and water before getting past the entrance hall. This helps to create a bit of a barrier within your cabin and the many public surfaces. Hope these tips help.

  3. “…Avoiding buffet restaurants on the cruise ship…” Dear Gary: how more cruel (travel / hospitality expectations wise) it can be?.. Almost merciless… Even distantly thinking of such a prospect gave me mental shudders and crips… Possibly… probably… getting physically expired with the norovirus would be even better: at least, somewhat romantic, if on a glamorous cruise ship. Something akin to dying (getting murdered) on the Oriental express at the times of the blissfully halcyon yore…

  4. Thank you so much for these tips. =) Hubby and I are going on our first transatlantic cruise this year. We are trying to learn everything we need to know, about everything. It's our 10th anniversary and we would prefer to not get ill if possible. Never realized there is so much to learn and prepare for.

    Are there also any tips for not getting ill while traveling via Airplane to the ports? We have never gone on a vacation. (hubby was in the military, got hurt, and we were never in a position to travel together). We are also trying to figure out what to wear, as we hear layering is the thing to do.

    Thank you again, and we are starting to get excited for the Cruise!!

  5. taking my kids for their first cruise and the number one rule will be GO BACK TO THE CABIN TO USE THE BATHROOM.

  6. The pre cruise health check that we need to fill out is usually with a shared biro provided by them !!. I recommend that we use our own pen.

  7. I took a cruise that a supplement company chartered for the week and no one got sick. The Capt was surprised. Why? Because we all brought our supplements and silver biotics. Research on it and use it.

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