Many vacations must be planned and paid for months in advance. Booking a cruise is a prime example. Purchasing travel insurance for a trip that requires a substantial investment of both time and money is a smart investment. Particularly during the flu and Norovirus season, the unexpected can happen and ruin an expensive vacation. This year, the Norovirus has been in the headlines as it sweeps across the country. Known as a cruise ship illness, Norovirus is one reason why everyone should consider trip insurance.
What is Norovirus?
Norovirus is a gastrointestinal illness that is easy to contract, spreads quickly, and has no specific cure. It is transmitted through contaminated food and water, or by contact with an infected individual. This makes cruise ships especially susceptible as everyone is confined to one ship together. Norovirus spreads in the gastrointestinal tract, causing the stomach lining to swell. The victim can not hold down food or water, and dehydration is a serious side effect. Dehydration can lead to weakness, lethargy, and dizziness. If left untreated, it can become very serious with loss of consciousness and even death.
Signs of Norovirus
The symptoms of Norovirus are similar to influenza:
- nausea and vomiting
- severe stomach cramps
- low grade fever
- sore muscles and overall body aches
While over-the-counter medicine can treat some of the symptoms, the virus itself just has to run its course.
Is Norovirus a “Cruise Ship” Illness?
Norovirus has been known as a cruise ship virus because when the virus hits, a ship can be forced to cut the cruise short and it makes the news. However, this isn’t necessarily a fair label. The Norovirus spreads quickly wherever there are large groups of people in a small area, such as cruise ships. In addition, cruise ships are required to report any outbreak of gastrointestinal illnesses. While the Norovirus spreads in dormitories, nursing homes, schools and other places where people gather, these industries are not required to report it. Norovirus is not limited to cruise ships.
How To Protect Yourself
Generally, travel insurance will cover you if you fall ill before or during your cruise. It could also cover medical expenses or compensate you if you have to cut your cruise short. Always read your policy carefully to know what is and is not covered.