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Cruise health

Cruise health
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5 mistakes that could make you poorly on your cruise

You’ve been looking forward to your cruise holiday for months now! Don’t let poor health spoil things for you. Here are some mistakes that you can easily avoid.

1.       ‘Seasickness won’t affect me on a large liner’

Even the largest ship will respond to bad weather and ocean currents by rolling, and that can bring on unexpected seasickness in even seasoned passengers. Seasickness can leave you feeling tired, dizzy and nauseous and it can even cause vomiting. Some people sweat or have headaches and it can bring on a migraine if you are susceptible. Many people are affected during the first 48 hours of a voyage, and it may be worth taking an over-the-counter remedy. Read more about motion sickness on NHS Choices.

2.     ‘I won’t get the runs on a cruise’

Cruise liners do have high standards of hygiene. They also offer such a range of dining that there is no need to subject your stomach to unfamiliar foods that might cause a gastro-intestinal (GI) upset or diarrhoea. However – passengers are at increased risk from outbreaks of GI illnesses such as norovirus. Norovirus spreads rapidly on cruise ships and can even survive on surfaces that have been sanitized. Protect yourself by maintaining good hand hygiene.

3.       ‘I’m on holiday: I don’t need a routine!’

The luxurious food choices and the 24-hour activity on board a cruise liner might encourage you to stay up late and eat and drink to excess. However, many people find that they get more out of their voyage if they stick to a rough routine. A regular routine will make you feel in control of your surroundings, which will support your wellbeing. It will help you get over jetlag if you’ve flown to join a Caribbean cruise. A routine will help ensure you eat regular meals, and this will prevent discomfort related to overindulgence. Many liners even have gyms and swimming pools, and you may find that a bit of exercise each day also helps you. A routine could help you sleep better, some passengers find it hard to settle amid unfamiliar sounds and sensations.

4.       ‘I don’t burn, I tan’

Some sunlight is good for you because it helps your body to make vitamin D. However, sunburn increases your risk of skin cancer and so you should avoid it. The light reflecting off the sea increases the effect of the sun’s harmful rays, and if you are in the tropics the sun will be more intense anyway. To avoid sunburn, use sunscreen, seek shade between 11am and 3pm, and cover up with clothing and a wide-brimmed hat. Read more about sun safety on NHS Fit for Travel.

5.       ‘I don’t need any travel shots to go on a cruise’

If you plan to go on any port excursions during your cruise, you are at risk of exposure to diseases endemic to those regions. Many vaccines will give you immunity for a number of years – and in the case of yellow fever, it is lifelong. Talk to a travel health adviser at one of our clinics. They can help you work out a reasonably priced regime whatever your itinerary.