(Photos by Company)
People usually overindulge by eating more and engaging in more activities when they are on vacation. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), “Some foods are more likely to carry bacteria that can make you sick. Salads, fruits, vegetables, raw meat and raw seafood are common culprits.” Do not drink the water in any foreign country that has bacterial issues. If you are planning to travel abroad, call the CDC and State Department or check their websites for the latest information on health outbreaks and unrest in that country.
Over the past few years, there have been many reports about the Noro Virus, Norwalk virus, and other illnesses attacking hundreds of passengers and crew on cruise ships. These contagious viruses are quickly passed from person to person causing flu- like symptoms. Passengers may be quarantined to their rooms. In all of these cases, scientists have not found out how to stop it. It is just like trying to stop the flu. New cruise recommendations tell passengers, “Instead of shaking hands, alternative greetings- the forearm tap, waving, air kisses, or chin nods- have become favored substitutes because pathogens are passed through skin contact. High traffic areas, elevators and handrails are known to contribute to spreading illness. Emily Porter, Vice President of Communications, Access America, advises “Do not touch the handrails. Carry your antiseptic wipes in case you have to touch anything, immediately clean your hands so you do not transfer germs to your face. Drink a lot of water to stay hydrated and help boost your immune system. Late nights can lead to feeling run down and tired, making you more susceptible to viruses and bacteria.”
If we are just traveling in the United States do we have to worry? Emily explained, “You may think you are in the United States, but sometimes you are cruising in international waters which could be considered to be outside the United States by your health insurance company. Some insurance carriers consider the Caribbean to be domestic and others overseas. Just boarding a ship may be considered leaving the country, if the company is under a foreign flag registry. Check with your health insurance to make sure that they cover you when you travel. Some policies will not cover you if you’re more than 100 miles away from home.”
When you buy insurance from a cruise line, sometimes they pay you back with cruise credits instead of cash back. Cruise companies cannot cover themselves for default protection.
What about sudden international situations while you are traveling? The world is going crazy today. Emily describes her companies’ policies, “If there is an incident in the city you are planning to visit within 30 days of your visit, you can cancel your trip. It is a personal decision to choose to go. We do not provide insurance to regions that are experiencing war. The test is “Would a reasonable person go there?” If an incident occurs, usually the United States government will dictate what type of business transactions can occur and manage getting people in and out of the country. We have a 24 hour hotline to help people in many kinds of situations. Even if someone just loses their passport, we help them get in touch with their embassy. Everyone should leave a copy of their passport at home. We arrange with their family to get a copy to the embassy and make sure the person can make their flight or cruise. If the person has an accident or illness overseas and needs to go to the hospital, Access America transfers information from their primary care physician to the local hospitals. We monitor the situation, talk to your family, and can even assist people if someone gets sick at home. During Hurricane Katrina and the Tsunami, we helped find people, relayed messages back and forth to families, and arranged transportation home.
CDC applies research and findings to improve people’s daily lives and responds to health emergencies-something that distinguishes CDC from its peer agencies. (877)-394-8747. www.cdc.gov