"" Writer's Wanderings: Calming The Fear Of Norovirus

Friday, May 10, 2019

Calming The Fear Of Norovirus

Not too long ago school children from our area returning from a Washington DC trip became ill with what was later declared to be Norovirus. It is not confined to cruise ships. You often hear more about it on cruise ships only because they are required to report an uptick in illnesses on a ship. Hotels, restaurants, and other places where people may cluster together are not required to report the outbreaks.

So, before you decide not to cruise or travel take some time to investigate and find out the facts about Norovirus. Here are a few.

Yes, it is contagious. It is transmitted by contact with someone who is ill. There is a reason you are required to fill out a health form before boarding a cruise ship. Unfortunately, there will be those who will not be honest and will board the ship anyway. So what do you do?

Wash your hands! Over and over and over again. Each time you've used the handrails, pushed the buttons on the elevator with a finger instead of a knuckle, played the casino slots, or just about anything else where you've touched another public surface. Wash your hands especially before it's time to eat. And if you're going through the buffet and serving yourself, use some hand sanitizer when you sit down to eat at your table.

Understand that the cleanliness of a cruise ship is just about impeccable. Again, it is someone coming on board who is sick that causes the problem.

If you should feel ill, go to the ship's doctor. You may be asked to remain in your cabin for a a couple of days if it is the Norovirus. I was surprised to find that many ships now have a way to test for it right on board if someone is ill. The virus effects last for 24 to 48 hours but some people can still be contagious for a time afterward.

Chances are very slim that you will contract the virus as long as you remember to wash your hands and be careful in your contact with others. There's a reason that shaking hands at the captain's reception has been discontinued. Just be diligent in your own hygiene--not paranoid, just diligent. The message is beginning to get around and people are taking it to heart and being more proactive. Less and less cases of Norovirus on ships are occurring. Keep up the good work!

Here are a couple of links if you'd like to learn more:
Norovirus--What you need to know
Demystifying the myths of Norovirus

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