Avoid Getting Sick on a Cruise Ship: 6 Simple Tips

If you are headed on a cruise soon or are
planning on one in the future, this is the video for you. Today I’m going to share with you some simple
tips and advice that will keep you from getting sick on your cruise and help you enjoy your
time on board. Welcome to another travel edition of Family
Med, your medical home for practical and accurate information to help your family make healthy
decisions. If this is your first time watching let me
introduce myself. I’m Doctor Erik Richardson, my passion is
helping you cut through all the health information clutter on the internet. So if that sounds like something that you
or your family need then make sure you follow along with us, hit that subscribe button and
share it with your friends. A common problem with traveling is that we
spend a lot of time planning all the fun things we want to do but we don’t put a lot of thought
into the small things that can derail that fun. No matter where we go this can be the case
but when we talk about a cruise there are some specific things that may get you in trouble
so its important to prepare before you leave. So let’s talk about them:
First of all, the first thing that you should do before going on a cruise is take a visit
to the travel website from the Centers for Disease Control. This is a great resource where you can look
up each country that you will be visiting and see if there are any specific health recommendations
there. More specifically it lets you see what kind
of immunizations you may need at each of the areas that you get off. It will go through precautions that you should
take especially related to ways that you can avoid infectious diseases specific to that
area. I highly recommend that you visit this well
in advance of your trip in case there are any immunizations that you need to get to
protect yourself. Another place to find out this information
can be your local health department or some medical groups have a travel medicine clinic
where you can find out what you need. The Second thing that you should focus on
is deciding what you are going to do to avoid getting seasick. If you are prone to this then you should prepare
for it because once that ship leaves port you are committed. Now these ships are typically really big so
most people do just fine however if you are sensitive to it Being sick the whole week
is not the way you want to be spending your time. So what’s available to help you through this? Well, there are a lot of things that are out
there, some more effective than others, but we’ll try and go through some of those that
seem to be most common. We’ll start with the one that you can get
from your doctor. This is called the Scopolamine Patch. This is a little patch that you put behind
your ear that can help control the effects of motion sickness. This is probably the best studied and therefore
most proven method of helping control symptoms. It can work a little better than your oral
medications because when you are seasick your stomach doesn’t absorb things as well so medications
you take by mouth may not get digested. The best way for the patches to work though
is if you apply them the day before you are going to need them and they need to be replaced
every 72 hours. They don’t work as well if you wait till you
start feeling sick to take them. The biggest downfall to the patch is that
it can cause some side effects like dry mouth, constipation, feeling cloudy and sometimes
some drowsiness. The other downfall is they can be expensive. Currently on the day of filming, the average
price for 4 patches was between $30-60 dollars depending on the pharmacy, not including the
trip you need to take to your doctor to get it. So let’s talk about some over the counter
options that are available. Probably the most common ones are your Dramamine
type products. They come in a drowsy and a non-drowsy type. Your more drowsy or original formula is made
of up of something called dimenhydrinate. Your non-drowsy formulas usually have a medicine
in it called Meclizine. Both are antihistimines that help to decrease
the effects of motion sickness. These are effective and are better if taken
1-2 hours prior to being on the ship. The dimenhydrinate can be taken every 4-6
hours while the meclizine is a once a day dose. When they have looked at which one is better
the dimenhydrinate oftentimes had the edge but you typically get more drowsiness than
with the meclizine. Both can have the side effect of dry mouth,
cloudy head and drowsiness. Other options out there would be the other
first generation antihistimes like Benadryl or one called Chlorpheniramine. They are slightly less effective but still
can be helpful. The same kind of side effects would apply. Make sure you talk to your doctor about what
would be best for you and follow the instructions on the box. Just as a side note, the newer antihistimines
like Zyrtec, Allegra or Claritin haven’t been found to be helpful with motion sickness. The biggest limiting factor to these medications
would be the side effects. However most who are prone to seasickness
agree that it beats getting sick. So what are some more natural ways that can
be helpful? One of those is Ginger. Raw ginger, ginger tea, gingerale or ginger
capsules. All have been shown to be helpful in decreasing
nausea associated with motionsickness. One study in naval cadets showed that taking
1-2 g of ginger prior to motion exposure significantly decreased the amount of motion sickness. Remember though, just because something is
“natural”, doesn’t mean that there can’t be problems with it. Ginger can cause some diarrhea, acid reflux,
gas and some mouth irritation. Also, and more important, make sure you check
with your doctor if you are on any medications as ginger does interact with some. Most importantly, if you are on blood thinners
or certain kinds of high blood pressure medications, there can be some interactions and this may
not be a good option for you. Another option that you could consider are
acupressure bands. These have been studied but the results have
been mixed. Some say it works and others don’t. The good thing about them is there isn’t any
known problems with using them. So those are the main things that have been
studied to any great length. There are certainly a lot of other products
out there. I’m curious to hear if you have anything that
works for you? If so, let me know if the comments below. Besides medications or supplements though
there are some things that you can do yourself to make it less likely to get sick. Some simple things that you can do are:
Looking at the horizon or a distant stationary object
Avoid reading or looking at a screen while moving. Staring at a stationary close object while
you are moving confuses your brain and can lead to feeling sick. Get a good night sleep before you start on
the cruise. This may not seem to be a problem for most
on a cruise but actually eating frequently can help. Try and avoid the real spicy or fatty foods
but having something light on your stomach can help. Make sure you get plenty of fresh air, head
outside, a cool breeze will really do wonders to clear your head. If that doesn’t work try and stay toward the
middle and lower decks on the ship as these are the areas that move the least. Then when all else fails remember each ship
has a doctor on board with great medical facilities that can help if it gets too bad. So the next thing we are going to go over
is how to avoid getting sick from other people on this cruise. ON a cruise you have the amazing privilege
of spending your vacation with about four thousand of your newest and now closest friends
and inevitably a few of them will come on board sick. The most dreaded thing that we are trying
to avoid is awful Norovirus. This is a viral infection that spreads rapidly
causing significant diarrhea and vomiting. It is typically spread through touch or respiratory
routes. Vomiting and diarrhea can last for 2-3 days
and you can still spread the virus for a couple days after that. It’s easily spread so it’s important to protect
yourself. The best way that you can do that is wash
your hands. The cruise ships do a lot to try and prevent
it but it won’t be enough. Wash your hands as much as possible, avoid
touching things in public and use hand santizer when you can’t wash your hands. Be especially careful at the buffet, in fact
I would recommend that you use some hand sanitizer after going through the line and before eating
your food. If you can minimize your time in the buffet
and take most your meals in the dining room you are less likely to be exposed. Certainly I don’t recommend spending your
whole time paranoid about germs but taking some simple precautions can help you avoid
it. The fourth thing you should focus on is adequate
water intake. Make sure you are getting plenty of fluids. Dehydration can increase your likelihood of
getting seasick as well as making it harder to fight off any illness that may come your
way on the ship. Alcohol is a common source of dehydration
so make sure you keep your alcohol consumption in moderation. I recommend getting the bottled water from
the ship not only to have something easier onboard to drink, but also so you can take
it when you get off of the ship. The 5th tip were going to share is make sure
you bring your sunscreen and use it. You’ll want to make sure you bring something
with at least a SPF of between 30-50. You’ll want to make sure you apply it liberally
and often. Make sure you reapply at least every 2 hours
or sooner if you are sweating a lot or doing water sports. Not only do you want to apply it to avoid
getting cancer in the future but you’ll want it to make sure you enjoy your trip. The only lobster you should be enjoying is
at the gourmet restaurant not you. Also did you know that getting a sunburn decreases
your immune system and makes it more likely that you can get sick of something else? Make sure you are protecting yourself. So the 6th and Last tip I’m going to share
has to deal with all the food that there is in abundance here on the ship. Cruise ships are not known for their moderation
and certainly it’s fun to indulge a bit. If you are already at risk, sudden excessive
intake of fatty foods can put you into a gallbladder attack. This is a very painful condition that may
require surgery. A cruise ship is not where you want to have
this happen. Also make sure you are keeping your alcohol
intake in moderation. Sudden, excessive intake of alcohol can lead
to things like pancreatitis-a very painful dangerous condition, certain heart arrhythmia
and even alcohol poisoning. So enjoy your time and even indulge a bit,
just keep it within reason and you will be sure to have a great time. So that’s all I have for you today. This certainly isn’t an exhaustive list of
things that you can do to keep yourself healthy on a cruise, Nor does it touch on all the
things that can go wrong, but hopefully its enough to help you think about some simple
things that you can do to make sure you have an incredible time with your loved ones as
I did with mine. I’m a cruising novice so maybe there are some
tricks that you use that I don’t know about. Let us know in the comments below about what
you do to avoid getting sick on your cruise. So hopefully you have found this information
to be helpful. Remember to go ahead and like, subscribe and
even share these with your friends. It really is key for me to be able to continue
to produce this kind of information for you. So until next time, This is FamilyMed with
Dr Richardson and remember take care of your body, because it’s the only one you have.

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