Norovirus on cruise ships. How to protect yourself.

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Posted: Monday, January 27, 2014 5:22 pm | Updated: 6:23 pm, Mon Jan 27, 2014.

You are on a cruise, enjoying the weather, food and fun, when people start showing signs of sickness. What do you do? You cant just hop off the ship, or spend the remainder of your trip tucked away in your cabin.

More than 600-people on a Royal Caribbean cruise ship showed symptoms and signs of the Norovirus. The ship cut the cruise short returning to the original port.

Michael Drennon, MSPH, of the Department of Health, Sarasota said, "Norovirus is a gastrointestinal virus, its very short lived, but can be very severe, and its very uncomfortable. t's a virus that causes nausea, vomiting and diarrhea."

The virus is easily transmitted from person to person, and can make people quite ill quickly.

You cannot get the Norovirus through the air, only through contact with a contaminated person or object.

Drennon explained, "It's spread through the fecal oral route, people practicing poor hand hygiene and then sticking their hands or eating food it goes through the mouth, that's how you get it."

"The best way to protect yourself is through hand hygiene." Said Drennon, "Washing hands appropriately, before you eat, before preparing food for other individuals and then you're sick, its best just not to prepare food for other people."

You cannot get the Norovirus through the air, only through contact with a contaminated person or objects.

And, if you want to protect yourself financially, Linda DeFina of Palmer Ranch Travel said insurance purchased through the cruise line or independently can. Just check for policies and what they cover in the event of illness.

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