How to Stay Healthy While On a Cruise
Going on a cruise is a great way to unwind, travel, have fun and see the world. However, riding a boat with thousands of people in close proximity can also be a way to catch something. To thwart any potential illnesses and prevent ruining your long-awaited vacation, here are a few tips on how to stay healthy while on a cruise.
Tip #1: Get your shots before the cruise
Before you go on your cruise, consult your doctor to make sure you get the necessary vaccinations and boosters to keep you from getting certain illnesses. However, these shots would differ, depending on where you’re going and how long you’re staying there. To find out more about the shots you need by country, visit the Travel Clinic website.
Tip #2: Bring a copy of your EKG
Did you know that one of the most common emergencies in cruise ships is chest pain? In fact it’s the most common symptom among travellers with cardiovascular disease. And this is exactly why tourists with a history of cardiac problems should bring a copy of their latest EKG—ideally taken before the trip. This copy can then be used by the ship doctor to assess the EKG taken on the cruise.
Tip #3: Wash your hands frequently
When on a cruise, your best line of defence against illnesses like the norovirus is to frequently wash your hands for at least 30 seconds. You should thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water before and after eating, and whenever you touch stuff touched by other people, like elevator buttons, railings and stair railings.
If there’s no soap and water on hand, you can use alcohol-based hand sanitizers so make sure you bring your own; however, they can never substitute a good hand-washing. If you contract something during the cruise, stay in your cabin to prevent transmitting your condition to other people, but make sure you still wash your hands thoroughly.
Tip #4: Take precautions when consuming food and water
When you’re at ports of call, make sure you take the necessary precautions when consuming food and water. Here are several preventive measures you should follow:
- Stay away from undercooked or raw food.
- Don't eat food or drinks from unsanitary vendors or establishments.
- Drink only beverages from sealed containers.
- Avoid ice (you don't know where they came from).
- Avoid eating fresh fruit and vegetables, unless you clean and peel it yourself.
Tip #5: Be wary of buffets
A buffet may be a gastronomical delight, but it can also be a health risk when a virus is going around, thanks to thousands of passengers all touching the same serving spoons. If you don’t want to catch any infection while on vacation but still want to enjoy buffets, you can look for cruises with buffets where crewmembers serve the food. Just make sure you wash your hands thoroughly before you eat.
Tip #6: Fight seasickness
If you know you get seasick, then consult your doctor about medications you can take to fight off its effects. You can also try over-the-counter medicines like meclizine or scopolamine patches. Just take note that meclizine has a sedative effect, while scopolamine has side effects. You can also wear Sea Bands wristbands, which apply acupuncture on your wrist, although they don’t always work.