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10 Tips to Avoid Illness on Your Next Cruise

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Cruise ships are a popular means of travel for many older adults. But while youíre surrounded by ocean, youíre also confined in close quarters with thousands of peopleó and their germs. Illnesses can spread quickly among passengers, especially those with chronic conditions. Influenza outbreaks can occur outside of traditional flu seasons on cruise ships. Fortunately, you can take the following steps to keep your dream vacation from turning into a nightmare:

1. Talk with your doctor. If you have a health condition, tell your doctor about the cruise youíre planning, including itinerary and length. If you think you might get seasick, ask about motion sickness drugs.

2. Get vaccinated. Make sure youíre up to date on routine vaccines. Depending on where youíll be sailing, you may need additional immunizations. Ask your doctor if you need an antiviral such as Tamiflu to help prevent the flu.

3. Check ship inspection scores. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention inspects cruise ships twice a year for sanitation. Check scores online at InspectionSearch.aspx.

4. Learn about available medical care. Check the shipís website or call customer service to ask about onboard medical care. If you have special equipment or medical needs, such as an oxygen tank, a wheelchair or dialysis, notify the cruise line to be sure your needs can be accommodated.

5. Ask about insurance. Ask your health insurance carrier if medical care will be covered on board or abroad. If not, consider purchasing travel health insurance.

6. Pack extra medication. Carry prescription drugs in their original containers with a copy of the prescription and a doctorís note. Bring more than you need in case your trip is unexpectedly delayed.

7. Pack protection. Bring bug spray, sunscreen and hand sanitizer.

8. Wash your hands often. Wash before eating and after using the bathroom or touching public surfaces, such as railings.

9. Take food precautions. Eat food thatís cooked and served hot, consume beverages from sealed containers and avoid ice. Eat fresh fruit youíve washed with clean water and peeled yourself.

10. Avoid contact with sick people. And if you feel ill, report your symptoms to the shipís infirmary.†

Posted in Healthy Living on February 16, 2016

Medical Disclaimer: This information is not intended to substitute for the advice of a physician. Click here for additional information: Health After 50 Disclaimer

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