Norovirus: Interview w/ Medical Correspondent

Model of Norovirus. Single strand positive sense virus. (photo:

Recently there has been a couple of norovirus outbreaks on cruise ships so we thought it would be good to pull an interview we did last year that tackles the subject.

Our medical correspondent Ed McDonough, PA, joins us to talk about all-things Norovirus and answers listener questions on the virus that can make, break, or delay a cruise vacation.

Here are some tips to maximize your chances of not getting the Norovirus bug while on your cruise, found on Chris Owen’s cruise blog:

  • Wash your hands- like on land, our hands contact all sorts of things and people, many of which may have horrible sicko germs, waiting to attack us.  Do y0u know how to wash your hands?   The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the people that police these things, have instructions on how to do it.
  • Don’t count on the hand sanitizers– those hand sanitizer dispensers all over the ship are mostly for show in the grand scheme of things.  They help but there is no substitution for a good hand washing.
  • Avoid touching things– Hand rails on stairs, elevator buttons, attractive small children, walls are all things that some sick person might have touched before you.
  • Don’t pick your nose– I know, gross, but a really good way to get germs on your fingers into your body.
  • Avoid closed spaces– Cruise ships themselves provide the closed environment that the Norovirus needs to multiply and thrive.  Elevators then, are almost like a closed environment within a closed environment and should be avoided. It won’t kill most people to take the stairs and get some extra exercise either.
  • Narc on sickos– If you can’t sleep because strange sick-person sounds are coming from the cabin next to you, tell your cabin steward.  At the very least your steward may appreciate the heads up and take extra precautions when cleaning that cabin.
  • Bomb your cabin– Upon entering your stateroom the very first time, drop your bags and blast the entire space with an air sanitizer like Ozium that has “active ingredients that actually cleanse the air” says the manufacturer.  Don’t talk about this “bombing” you have plans for when boarding the ship.  That sort of thing makes security people nervous.

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