Here’s Everything You Need To Know About Norovirus Outbreaks On Cruise Ships

It’s every cruise lover’s worst nightmare: norovirus. This stomach sickness has struck more than 150 cruise ships sailing out of Florida this year and it’s predicted to affect even more vessels in the future.

What is norovirus? Though it’s sometimes referred to as the “24-hour flu,” it’s actually not related to the flu virus. Norovirus is a virus that causes vomiting and diarrhea. It usually comes on quickly and resolves equally fast, normally within about two days. Symptoms also include fever, headache, and body aches and pains.

Luckily, protecting yourself against this nasty illness is relatively easy. Washing your hands with soap and water after using the restroom, before eating, and before cooking is the best way to keep yourself safe. You should be aware that alcohol-based hand sanitizers actually don’t kill norovirus, so old-fashioned soap and water really is best.

You should also avoid sharing items like towels, glasses, and lip balm with other cruise ship passengers, and always be sure that utensils and servings spoons are being stored and handled properly before diving into the buffet.