Cruise Ship And Resort Mistakes That Can Make You Sick
Cruise ships and resorts can be wonderlands for adults—a place where they don’t need to worry about clocks or appointments or bills. They can just put everything on their room tab and the only decisions to be made are when to nap or eat, or which show to attend. But once just one person contracts a dangerous illness like the norovirus or legionnaires disease, cruises and resorts can become the site of rapid transmission. Between the buffets, saunas, and mist machines, there are a lot of avenues that bacteria can use to travel quickly. Cruises are some of the scariest places for disease to spread since the passengers are just stuck inside together until the ship can dock. But, resorts are also still dangerous, since it can take a long time for anyone to realize there is illness on the property. If you’re headed to a cruise or resort this summer, here are mistakes that can leave you very ill.
Standing under mist machines
Those misters spraying little water droplets around the pool bar are refreshing, but they can also be carriers of diseases like Legionnaires. If you inhale water droplets carrying the bacteria, you could contract the disease. Don’t dwell under these.
Buffet sections without utensils
Some parts of the buffet don’t really lend themselves to utensils, like a pastry tray. Nobody wants to use a large prong to awkwardly grab a croissant, so they pick one up with their hands, touching the neighboring pastries along the way. If people aren’t using utensils on a certain self-serve station, stay away.
Failing to stay hydrated
It’s easy to become dehydrated without even realizing it, until it’s too late. Remember that you’ll be out in the sun, possibly drinking alcohol, and doing other things that require you to drink much more water than you normally would. If you become terribly dehydrated, you may have to spend a couple of days in the medic’s office.
Leaving creamy drinks in the sun
Those blended drinks with whipped cream on top are just the thing to drink pool or beachside. But if your drink has a dairy base, or the whipped cream contains dairy, don’t let these sit in the hot sun for a half hour. Bacteria can grow rapidly on warm dairy products. Take your drinks under an umbrella if you’d like to sip slowly.
Sharing big blue drinks
There can be a lot of drink sharing that goes on at a resort or on a cruise. Between the big fish bowl drinks designed for four people, and simply losing track of which water cup was yours, it’s easy to swap germs with a stranger. Mark your cups, and don’t share large, four-straw beverages with friends.
Venturing off without research
If you do plan to leave the resort or get off the cruise, just make sure to do your research. Get information on safe and clean areas to visit. Don’t go anywhere that guest services cannot vouch for. Cleanliness standards may not be up to most standards, depending on where you go.
Eating off circling trays of food
Someone may circle around the pool, passing out cubes of watermelon. But people rarely wash their hands much during a pool day, and touch several pieces of fruit before choosing their piece. Avoid the community trays of snacks.
Drinking the tap water
Do not, under any condition, drink the tap water. Even a little gulp to help you take a pill could have devastating results. Always drink bottled water on cruises and at resorts.
Touching the raw stuff
It’s best to avoid raw or unpasteurized food on cruise ships or at buffets. Since these foods usually sit on large trays together, each piece touching the other, if just one batch carries bacteria it can quickly contaminate the others.
Not reporting illness
You don’t want to ruin anyone’s vacation, so maybe you don’t say anything when you see someone displaying severe symptoms. But if they’re truly ill, their trip is already about to be ruined. By not saying anything—like telling the staff or asking the person to see a medic—you could ruin many more people’s trips.
Skipping hand sanitizer at the pool
Bring hand sanitizer to the pool. Think about it: you touch the rails, the chairs, the kickboards, and all sorts of surfaces. But you likely don’t go to the bathroom to wash your hands each time you do that.
Ignoring Caution signs
If there is a big yellow sign asking you not to enter a sauna, restroom, or other public areas, respect it. It’s possible that someone vomited or had another health incident in that area, and there could be a lot of germs in the air.
If you, yourself, experience any symptoms, see the medic right away. Some contagious diseases can become fatal if not caught and treated within a short time frame.
Not wiping down kickboards
If you use shared items at the pool like kickboards or noodles, just make sure they’re clean before hopping on. Children have a habit of wiping their noses directly onto items like these, and they can carry tons of bacteria.
Keep track of your towel. Most towels at resorts and cruises look identical, and it’s too easy to pick one up that belongs to somebody else and put it on your face—one of the most vulnerable areas of your body when it comes to contracting illness.