No one wants to fall ill while traveling, especially on a cruise ship vacation. In this article, we will discuss some common health concerns during cruise travel and provide helpful tips on how to stay healthy and enjoy your voyage.
Prepare Before You Set Sail
Before embarking on your cruise, take the following steps:
Check CDC’s destination pages for travel health information: Visit the CDC’s webpage for your destination to learn about necessary vaccines, medicines, and potential health risks.
Ensure you are up to date with routine vaccinations: Protect yourself against infectious diseases that can spread quickly in groups of people by getting vaccinated.
Consult a healthcare provider or travel health specialist: Schedule an appointment at least one month before your departure to discuss any necessary vaccines, medicines, and destination-specific information.
Pack a travel health kit: Include essential items such as prescriptions, over-the-counter medicines, a mask, insect repellent, sunscreen, aloe, alcohol-based hand sanitizer, water disinfection tablets, and your health insurance card.
Consider travel insurance: Verify if your health insurance covers medical care abroad and consider purchasing additional insurance that includes healthcare and emergency evacuation.
Common Health Concerns and Prevention Tips
While cruising, be aware of the following common health concerns and take steps to prevent them:
Influenza, COVID-19, and the common cold can spread quickly in cruise ship environments. To prevent these illnesses:
- Get your annual flu shot and stay up-to-date on COVID-19 vaccines
- Check with your cruise line about their COVID-19 testing or vaccination protocols
- Wash your hands frequently or use hand sanitizer
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing
- Consider wearing a mask in crowded or poorly ventilated indoor areas
Norovirus, a virus that causes vomiting and diarrhea, can be a concern on cruise ships. To prevent norovirus infection:
- Wash your hands with soap and water before eating and after using the bathroom or touching common surfaces
- Avoid touching your face
To reduce the risk of seasickness:
- Consult your healthcare provider about medications to alleviate symptoms
- Be aware that some common medications can worsen seasickness
Protect yourself from sunburn by applying sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher, even on cloudy or cold days.
Use insect repellent and take other steps to avoid bug bites, especially when visiting ports where diseases like malaria, yellow fever, Zika, dengue, and chikungunya are a concern.
Plan for the Unexpected
While no one can predict every challenge that may arise during a cruise, being prepared can help minimize potential issues. Keep the following tips in mind:
- Always have a plan for getting care overseas in case you need medical attention
- Make sure you have enough medication for your entire trip, plus extra in case of delays
- Check for any travel alerts or advisories related to your destination
In conclusion, by taking the necessary precautions and planning ahead, you can enjoy a healthy and worry-free cruise vacation. Stay vigilant, but remember to relax and have fun as you sail the seas.