Reduce the chances of getting sick while traveling
Cruises are a family-friendly travel option that let you sail the seas, enjoy onboard entertainment and, in many instances, visit different countries. While cruises typically run from May to October, many people take them in early fall. Cruises are often filled with unforgettable fun, but one potential downside to boat travel is getting sick.
If you’re taking a cruise this fall, take preventative measures to keep you and your family safe.
Common illnesses on cruise ships
There are many ways you can get sick on a cruise. However, one of the most common sicknesses on a cruise is seasickness.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, seasickness, or motion sickness, occurs due to a conflict with your senses. A boat’s erratic movements from side to side and up and down are detected by the inner ear, which is responsible for your balance.
However, since the boat moves with your body, your eyes misinterpret this as a stable environment, causing miscommunication between the two senses and leading to unpleasant symptoms.
Here are the most common symptoms of seasickness, as reported by the Cleveland Clinic:
- Cold sweats.
- Difficulty concentrating.
- Nausea and vomiting.
- Pale skin.
- Rapid breathing.
According to MedlinePlus, certain people are more susceptible to motion sickness, such as:
- People with migraine headaches, specifically those with vestibular migraine.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, aside from seasickness, other common health sicknesses occur on a cruise. These include respiratory illnesses, such as the flu, COVID-19 and the common cold. In addition, there’s the norovirus, an infection causing symptoms including vomiting, diarrhea and cramping. Being enclosed in congested spaces on a cruise ship makes it much easier for these sicknesses to spread.
Most cruise ships have medical staff onboard who can diagnose and treat you or someone else who gets sick. And, in emergencies, the staff may accompany you and your family to the nearest hospital.
Ways to prevent seasickness before and during a cruise
If you notice signs of sickness during a cruise, you can take preventative measures to protect yourself and your family.
Here’s what you can do for seasickness, according to the Mayo Clinic:
- Focus: Find a distant, stationary object to look at. You can also avoid reading or using electronic devices.
- Keep your head still: When resting on a cruise, gently press your head into a headrest to prevent movement.
- Avoid smoking: Refrain from smoking and don’t sit near smokers.
- Stay from strong odors: Avoid spicy and greasy foods and alcohol.
- Take medications: Over-the-counter antihistamines, such as dimenhydrinate (Dramamine) and meclizine (Travel-Ease), can help prevent or relieve nausea and vomiting. Take antihistamines 30 to 60 minutes before your cruise starts.
- Try scopolamine: Scopolamine is a prescription-only adhesive you place behind your ear for 72 hours of protection. If you have glaucoma or urine retention, speak with your health care provider before taking scopolamine.
- Take ginger: To prevent nausea, take a ginger supplement, such as a candy or ginger ale, before your cruise.
- Watch what you eat and drink: Light foods and drinks, such as crackers and carbonated drinks, may help prevent seasickness.
According to the CDC, here are some tips for preventing contagious illnesses:
- Wash your hands often: Wash your hands before eating, using the bathroom or touching things touched by other people.
- Keep hand sanitizer nearby: Be sure to pack hand sanitizer when you can’t access a bathroom to wash your hands.
- Bring a mask: If the cruise has poor ventilation or is crowded, wear KN95 masks.
- Have a travel health kit: Bring a travel first aid kit to keep medications and other items to tend to medical issues.
- Get travel insurance: If traveling abroad, get travel insurance to receive medical care if necessary.
Best supplies to prevent sickness on a cruise
These capsules act as a dietary supplement for motion sickness relief. They prevent and relieve nausea and vomiting. They are safe to take every day throughout your cruise because they are made of natural ginger. Children ages 6 and up can take them.
Protect yourself from contagious illnesses with these five-layer KN95 masks. They are made of premium, non-irritating materials and have a 95% filter efficiency rate. They have a three-dimensional design that provides full coverage of the mouth and nose, with enough space to breathe.
Take hand soap on the go with this 10-pack of disposable hand soap sheets. Each box contains 20 sheets of foaming paper soap. The paper dissolves quickly underwater and has a floral scent. The pocket-sized boxes easily fit in your luggage, backpack or handbag.
These wristbands work by applying pressure to your wrist’s acupressure point to relieve nausea and vomiting. They are safe, reusable and washable and are Health Savings Account- and Flexible Spending Account-approved.
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Taneia Surles writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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