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Will I Get Sick on the Ship?
Will I Get Sick on the Ship? There are two issues here. First, the most common concern--don’t be worried about motion sickness. Ships today are so well stabilized and so large that most of the time you won’t even notice you are moving. Nevertheless, it’s a good idea to be prepared for heavy seas that may occur with storms. There are “Sea Bands” (fabric wrist-lets that work on the acupressure principle) available over-the-counter at most drug stores, luggage stores, and dive shops. Ginger products are available in health food stores. Scopamine Gel works well, but a prescription is required from a doctor. If you are prone to motion sickness, it may be reassuring to have any necessary prescriptions from your own practitioner in hand before sailing. The information desk on most ships will give out Dramamine if requested. A more rare occurance is a communicable disease outbreak, such as raised in the following article: “Norovirus: Not just a cruise problem (3/19/2004) LAS VEGAS -- The cruise industry has often contended that outbreaks of Norovirus are more heavily covered by the news media when they occur on cruise ships than elsewhere. A situation in Las Vegas may help bolster that belief: 'Three hotels in downtown Las Vegas have had outbreaks of the flu-like virus recently. The outbreaks began in December, but have received little more than local news coverage...the cause of the outbreak is unknown...City health officials have reported 1,174 cases since December...' ” Cruise ships are vulnerable to this sort of negative publicity in the same way air crashes are: mandatory reporting and investigation, sensationalism, and convenient "packaging" for news agencies. Common sense and the above example will tell you that disease transmission can be a problem anytime large numbers of people gather together. The difference is that, unlike cruise ships, in most instances the crowds soon disperse and go their separate ways, making it unlikely that outbreaks of relatively harmless illnesses like Norovirus would be detected, let alone traced back to their source. Again, common sense, experience, and statistics will tell you that your chances of contracting an illness are highly unlikely even if you do nothing. If you take the simplest precautions of avoiding hand to mouth or nose contact and increased hand washing, the chances are further reduced to the infitesimal. Go enjoy your cruise! Still not convinced? Read more... Statement from Cruise Line International Association and International Council of Cruise Lines Following recent news stories regarding norovirus incidents aboard cruise ships, your clients may express concern about vacationing at sea. As always, the safety and well-being of our guests and crew is the cruise industry’s highest priority. Agents are welcome to use this communication to provide their clients with the latest norovirus information, including preventative measures the cruise lines are taking, plus steps your clients can take to reduce their risk. According to the most recent information, the facts are as follows: The Centers For Disease Control (CDC) is reporting a rise in norovirus incidents across the United States, in hospitals, day care centers, nursing homes and schools. The increase comes at a time of year when such events are more likely to occur. With the reported increase norovirus cases on land, including areas of Virginia and Colorado, CLIA’s sister organization, the International Council of Cruise Lines (ICCL), has observed a corresponding increase in norovirus incidents aboard cruise ships. According to CDC, the cruise lines have the highest sanitation standards in the world. Rigorous cleaning procedures are in place to disinfect and sanitize public areas including door handles, railings and elevator buttons. According to Dave Forney, chief of CDC’s Vessel Sanitation Program, “Cruise lines [also] work meticulously and effectively to actually break the cycle of transmission during most cruises.” The most preventative measure guests can take to effectively prevent this temporary but uncomfortable condition is to wash their hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and warm water. Guests who experience symptoms should follow the medical staff’s guidance to prevent the spread of illness. Norovirus symptoms include diarrhea, vomiting and stomach cramps and may last one to two days. The most common means of transmission is person-to-person contact. CDC estimates that 23 million people in the United States, or eight percent of the population, contract norovirus each year. In contrast, less than one percent of all cruise guests are affected by norovirus annually. Should you or your clients seek additional information, including more on norovirus and proper hand-washing techniques, please visit the CDC Web site or the Vessel Sanitation Program’s Web site.