USA Today reported yesterday that Celebrity experienced yet another norovirus outbreak on an Alaska cruise this summer. Over 100 passengers and crew on the Infinity experienced nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea on the voyage that ended this past Sunday. The Mercury treated similar numbers for the norovirus on a June sailing.
Therefore, I’d like to use this blog to educate readers about norovirus prevention. No one wants her cruise to be ruined by a stomach bug. Luckily, preventive measures are quite easy. Here’s what the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends:
1. Wash your hands: If you learned anything in kindergarten, it’s that you should wash your hands after you use the bathroom. Hand cleansing is the number-one thing you can do to prevent the norovirus from spreading, either to you or from you. You should also soap up after changing a diaper and before eating or preparing food. On a cruise ship, you can take advantage of hand sanitizer stations, especially when you come onboard after an excursion or before you hit the dining room.
2. Clean up: If someone in your cabin is ill, you should immediately clean clothing, linens, and any surfaces that the sick person has touched or used. I’m sure that the housekeeping staff will be happy to provide you with new towels or pillowcases if asked.
3. Flush: Again, this is basic stuff. If your cabinmate becomes ill in the bathroom, make sure that the area in and around the toilet is fully cleaned before you use it.
4. Stay away: According to the CDC, norovirus is contagious from the time a person experiences symptoms until three days after recovery. If you cannot totally avoid cabinmates or fellow cruisers who recently had the norovirus, you should at least be very vigilant about washing your hands and avoiding unnecessary contact when you’re near them.
In addition, the cruise line should do its part to thoroughly wash fruits and vegetables and disinfect services with high public use (such as meal serving stations).
Just remember to follow all those good hygiene rules you learned when you were a kid, and you should be able to sail free of stomach bugs.