Picture this: you’re cruising on the high seas, wind in your hair, fresh salty air in your nostrils, having the time of your life, not a care in the world – and then, you come down with the dreaded lurgie.
Before you pack your bags to go on a cruise, you’d better pack yourself off to the doctor to get your flu shot first.
New South Wales Health is urging anyone thinking of taking a holiday cruise to be vaccinated against influenza at least two weeks prior to departure after several recent outbreaks on board ships arriving in Sydney.
Since 1 February, 533 passengers and crew arriving in Sydney on board cruise ships have been recorded as having flu-like symptoms. On average, flu notifications over the first four months of this year have been more then double that of previous years.
Director of Communicable Diseases for NSW Health, Dr Vicky Sheppeard, said particular care should be taken by cruise passengers who may be at increased risk of influenza due to the large numbers of people frequently mingling from all pats of the world, for longer periods of time and in close proximity to one another.
“Cruise ships have strong protocols in place for assessing, treating and isolating passengers and crew with suspected influenza, but the best form of prevention is vaccination,” Dr Sheppeard said.
“This is especially important for the elderly, pregnant women and anyone who is at increased risk of pneumonia or other serious complications if they contract influenza.”
Health authorities recommend all travellers get the flu jab whether they’re travelling by sea or air.
NSW Health is currently working with the cruise ship industry to promote the recommendation for influenza vaccination prior to travel among booked passengers.
Before your cruise, you can find more information about influenza outbreaks in travel groups by visiting this website.
Tell us, are you planning on cruising soon? What vaccinations have you had?