Cruise Ship Law

Spotting The Difference Between Norovirus And The Flu


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Lipcon, Margulies & Winkleman, P.A. is comprised of attorneys that are nationally-recognized industry leaders in the field of maritime and admiralty law. Our team of lawyers has over a century of combined experience, has successfully handled over 3,000 cases, and has recovered over 300 million dollars in damages for our clients.

Our cruise ship lawyers have seen an abundance of Norovirus cases this year, an illness known as the stomach bug which affects millions of passengers each year. While the virus is one of the most commonly reported by cruise travelers, there is a way to spot it and try to prevent contamination. Norovirus symptoms are often mistaken for those of Influenza, or the common cold. Knowing how to tell the difference between Norovirus and the common cold will help passengers obtain the medical help they need quickly and effectively.

The best defense against Influenza is the flu shot. Although it is not a guarantee to prevent the flu, it will help cruise passengers fight off the virus should they come in contact with someone who is sick. Cruise ships are the perfect breeding grounds for viruses and bacteria because of their confined spaces and number of travelers. Any illness can quickly turn severe, often requiring hospitalization, so taking preventative measures is always a good way to at least minimize an outbreak.

In addition to the flu shot, cruise passengers should wash their hands regularly and avoid contact with those who are sick. Covering toothbrushes is also essential in preventing the spread of the illness to cabin mates and family members.

But while both the flu and Norovirus can spread easily, their symptoms are not as similar as some might imagine. The typical characteristics of the flu including body aches, coughing, sore throat, and runny nose. However, the typical symptoms of the Norovirus are nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Some flu patients can experience nausea, but Norovirus does not present any additional symptoms aside from those related to the stomach. Complications may arise if patients are not properly hydrated, but noting the difference in the virus’ characteristics can help those who are ill determine the best medical course of action to take.

When stricken with the flu, it is also important to stay hydrated. With both illnesses, however, those who are contaminated should report symptoms while onboard a cruise vessel immediately in order to minimize the spread of the illness and prevent a mass outbreak on the ship. Those who are sick or who feel as though they are coming down with either illness should avoid public areas and sanitize their cabins as often as possible.

Norovirus is generally non-life-threatening if patients remain well-hydrated and symptoms only last about three days. However, the flu can take over a week to dissipate and presents much larger complications, especially for elderly victims who contract the virus. Medical doctors are available on most vessels to help treat patients, but cruise travelers are also encouraged to bring their own over-the-counter medications in case illness strikes.

Cruise goers who do not obtain the medical attention they need while onboard and who suffer complications with their illness as a result can turn to our cruise ship lawyers for assistance in filing a claim against the line.

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