Norovirus – Norwalk

There is nothing new about the gastrointestinal illness caused by the norovirus, also sometimes referred to as the Norwalk-like-virus or NLV.

norwalk or norovirus on a cruise

Tips and Advice About the Norwalk – Norovirus on a Cruise Ship

It is not news that incidences of the norovirus on cruise ships have increased over the years.

An extremely unpleasant illness, the effects of the norovirus are  abdominal pain and cramping, nausea, diarrhoea and vomiting as well as muscle pain, joint stiffness, fever, chills and sweating.

Before panic sets in , however, it is worth knowing that the norovirus has in fact only infected a mere 1% of world wide cruise passengers.

The frustrating thing about that figure is that is could be a lot lower and the reason it is not, is because, in large part, of us – the cruise passengers.

Highly contagious, we, the cruise passengers, do have a way to try and prevent being infected. It has to do with common sense and it is exactly what we do each year to avoid getting a cold.

Experts tells us that the key is to wash our hands frequently. The advice is to wash the hands with soap with warm water for AT LEAST 20 seconds, or as one captain with Holland America Line suggested, for two choruses of “Happy Birthday”. This helps to kill the virus should you have come into contact with it.

Other obvious precautions include not shaking hands with strangers (most Captain Welcome Aboard parties no longer involve shaking hands with the Master of the vessel) and avoiding touching foreign surfaces, like hand rails, elevator buttons, door plates, and table surfaces at buffets.

Other important tips is to keep hands and fingers away from your face - no rubbing the eyes etc, as the main routes of entry for the virus are the mouth, eyes and nose.

Should the virus get to you, cruise lines now require that you inform the ship’s doctor. You will usually be quarantined in your stateroom for the usual 2-3 day duration of the illness.

Again, this is a measure that we, the cruise passengers, should respect and carry out, even if it is miserable to miss half your holiday. You may just help not to make a fellow passenger sick as well.

Our ship’s doctor here aboard Prow’s Edge suggests that patients focus on preventing dehydration. Fluids and electrolytes (salts and minerals) lost in diarrhoea need to be replaced.

 What is the Norovirus / Norwalk Exactly?

seasickness on a cruise
Medical expert and travel enthusiast Joe Springfield explains some simple facts about the Norwalk / Norovirus.

What is this virus all about, exactly? Well, let's find out.

The norwalk virus, also known as Norwalk gastroenteritis virus of humans, is an inflammation of the stomach and intestines which can lead to abdominal pain and/or cramping, nausea, diarrhea and vomiting. Additional symptoms may also include muscle pain, joint stiffness, fever, chills and sweating.

It is sometimes called the "stomach flu," and is often found in communities where large numbers of people collect in smaller than usual spaces, such as schools, hospitals, retirement homes - and yes - cruise ships. in fact, a cruise ship, where passengers and crew mingle in confined quarters, provides the perfect conditions for the spread of a virus.

Even though you have no control over preventing one of your fellow passengers bringing the virus on board, you do have the control to help prevent it reaching you, and it’s rather like trying to prevent yourself falling prey to the latest flu bug.

Please note that the information on these 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.

 Cruise Advice - Tips

• Running on a Cruise

• Advice for an Alaska cruise
• Avoiding putting on weight
• Bringing Alcohol Onboard
• Cabin Fever
• Child Free Cruises
• Choosing a Cabin
• Cold Climate Cruising
• Cruise Dress Codes
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• Family Cruises
• Food Poisoning
• Healthy Eating
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• Internet on a Cruise Ship
• Jet Lag
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• Maintaining mental health
• Medical Preparedness
• Norovirus/Norwalk
• Packing for a Cruise
• Packing for a Cruise (more)
• Phoning from a Cruise
• Rewards Programs
• Safety at Sea
• Saving Money on a Cruise
• Seasickness
• Shore Excursions
• Smoking on Cruise Ships
• Sun and the Topics
• Swine Flu
• Table Assignments
• Taking Alaska photos
• The real cost of cruises
• Tipping on Cruises

 Ship's Doctor

Medical expert and travel enthusiast Joe Springfield offers some tips and advice about typical travel concerns.

• cabin fever
• cold climates
• food poisoning
• jet lag
• norwalk virus
• seasickness
• tropical concerns

For more advice on all sorts of topics, take a look at the Prow's Edge Cruise Forums and Cruise Message Boards and see what fellow passengers have to say about cruises.

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