Joe Springfield offers some views about typical travel concerns. Our on board travel/medical enthusiast was trained at the University of Wyoming (BS), and spent many years in Cell Biology/ Pathology at the University of California, San Diego.

Please note that the information on these ship's doctor pages is provided for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.


Advice for cruise passengers on beating the cold and common sense health guidelines and advice to make your cruise an even happier experience.
Taking a cruise to Antarctica - or a fall cruise to Alaska?

The most obvious thing to watch out for is hypothermia – a decrease in the core body temperature to a level at which normal muscular and cerebral functions are impaired. Conditions that lead to this are cold temperatures, improper clothing and equipment, wetness, fatigue, exhaustion, dehydration, poor food intake and most important: Ignorance.

As I always preach, prevention is better than cure, so you need to follow some of the basic rules, like dressing appropriately. Layers are the most efficient way of regulating temperature, especially when you're passing from one extreme to another and care should be taken to ensure that the fabric you choose is one that will still insulate, even when wet. You need to stay as dry as possible.

You should also avoid alcohol, caffeine and tobacco. So don't take a hiking trip into the snow if your were up to 3 am on too many brandies the night before.

If the worst comes to the worst, signs to watch for are the" umbles". Stumbles, mumbles, fumbles and grumbles – all of which indicate a loss of motor and consciousness control. Also, uncontrolled shivering, and an inability to do complex tasks like climbing or skiing.

The solution? Apply additional clothing, trade out wet for dry clothing, and take plenty of hot liquids. Avoiding alcohol, caffeine and tobacco of course work towards aiding recovery too.

But none of this should happen to you, of course. You'll be surrounded by experts who know what they're doing, and as long as you watch out for those “umbles” everything should be fine!

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