In the last few weeks, a number of cruise ships have been re-routed and delayed due to outbreaks of norovirus. Norovirus, often called the ‘cruise ship virus’, is a nasty stomach virus that spreads like crazy in close quarters. It causes vomiting and diarrhea and it’s extremely contagious; you can be infected by coming in contact with just a few particles. It’s also very hard to stop and those who’ve had it can be contagious for up to 72 hours after their symptoms stop. Of course, because the person feels better, they get back to having fun and continue the spread of the virus around the ship.
There is no medical intervention that prevents the spread of the virus – it’s all about strict hygiene efforts. Unfortunately, alcohol-based hand sanitizers aren’t very effective at stopping the spread of norovirus, so you must wash your hands after touching any surface that may be infected. Vigorous hand washing with plenty of soap and water will take the virus off your hands.
Cruise ship cleaning teams know that keeping all surfaces very clean is also important. That means washing doorknobs, handrails, and faucet handles, but don’t forget computer keyboards, remote controls and cell phones as well.
Some passengers recommend putting the remote in a plastic bag to avoid touching it.
Recovering from Norovirus
If you are stricken with the virus, the first rule of thumb is to drink plenty of fluids because the dehydration caused by norovirus can cause more serious symptoms. Some people are treated with IV fluids if they cannot keep them down. In some cases, anti-nausea medications can help with the symptoms as well.