If you read our last blog, your hands are washed and you’re all prepared to avoid Norovirus.
Now here are a few more tips to keep you healthy on your high seas adventure.
Remember that when you book your cruise, you also sign a cruise ticket contract ensuring that you are fit for travel. This means you should see your health care provider 4-6 weeks prior to departure. Make sure your routine vaccinations including influenza, TdaP (tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis) and MMR (mumps, measles and rubella) are up to date. Passengers and crew on a ship come from all over the world to share their various (vaccine preventable) maladies with you. Find out from your local travel clinic if any of your ports require proof of Yellow Fever vaccination.
Malaria is not a risk on ships at sea from dusk to dawn, but most tropical destinations have mosquitoes that can transmit Dengue and Chikungunya Fever. When leaving the ship, cover your arms and legs and wear DEET insect repellant on any uncovered areas.
You’ve traveled to find the sun and the surf but don’t forget that the sun is more intense in the tropics and when reflected off water or sand. Stay covered, wear a hat with a brim, and use your sunscreen. Also, make sure to remain hydrated by drinking plenty of water.
The good news is that modern cruise ships, especially the larger ones, are equipped with medical facilities to deal with simple illnesses and basic medical emergencies. The bad news is that they also take you to exotic locations and remote corners of the globe where more advanced medical facilities may not be readily available. This is why you should always purchase special medical evacuation insurance. In case of an emergency, it will ensure your transport to an appropriate medical facility or back to the U.S. no matter where you are. A policy can be purchased online from several worldwide organizations and is well worth the relatively minor cost. Otherwise, you will be responsible for the extremely high cost of onboard emergency care or evacuation off the ship if you need it.
Lastly, you should always keep a brief medical record file in your hand luggage that includes a list of medications, drug allergies and a copy of your most recent ECG. Also carry a sufficient quantity of all medications in well-marked containers.
So, what are you waiting for? Get yourself to the buffet and enjoy all that a cruise has to offer. But don't overdo it, of course.
Smooth sailing and stay tuned for our next blog on motion sickness!