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Hand washing on cruise ships

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5 hours ago, shealea said:

My husband often tells me that men very rarely ever wash their hands after using the public restrooms. That is so crazy to me! And NASTY! What the heck??!!!  I can't remember the last time that I have seen a woman NOT wash their hands after using the restroom. 

We've just completed a 35 night cruise on Sea and DH said he often saw men leaving the restroom without washing their hands but I never saw any women leave without washing.

 

However the ship was full of people coughing and sneezing into their hands or not covering their mouths at all. It was quite disgusting. Somehow I avoided coming down with the cough but DH came down with it shortly after having someone sitting next to him who was coughing badly without covering their mouth. 

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On 10/4/2017 at 2:55 PM, steelers36 said:

 

I'm all for personal hygiene, but if you are worried about the menus, why aren't you taking your dishes, glasses and flatware back to the cabin to wash them before being served food? What about your chair? Oh wait, the dishes come from the kitchen with food on them. The waiters handle the dishes. Oh oh. Don't mean to make fun of you but we can only go so far within reason.

 

The waiters are trained in proper food handling.

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On 10/5/2017 at 6:32 AM, geocruiser said:

Like others I try not to touch to many surfaces in the public Princess bathrooms. I so have a question, how does any one flush a Princess toilet with their foot?

A. You must put the lid down. Can't not react the flush button with it up.

B. The button gets press (as I recall ) and it seem to get pressed below the surface that it is on. I would really like to learn this trick.

 

It is very easy to do.

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Also, even if people wash their hands before the buffet.  Eating and licking their fingers while in the buffet area defeats the purpose.  Can't people wait 5 minutes to stuff fries in their mouth, all the while getting all their saliva on their fingers and then picking up the serving spoon or tongs!!   I almost want to scream when I see that, so washing your hands is not very effective if you do that.  

 

I am a dental professional and I am very, very aware of hand washing and do it obsessively, but when you see people eating in the buffet area, it is the worst.  I actually wash my hands before and after getting food in the buffet before I touch my utensils or eat a thing.  

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Is disease truly any bigger a problem on cruise ships? Has there been many "outbreaks"? Or, is it just that, for many people, it's a rare occasion when the are in such close quarters with strangers?

Living in a crowded city, traveling on crowded public transportation, we are very aware of pathogens. In much of Asia, "covering a cough" is an unknown concept. Those that do, typically use their hands. Then they grab door knobs, hand rails and other common surfaces.

One "funny" side note, in much of Asia, picking one's teeth is a major faux pas. However, it nothing to have someone sitting next to you with a finger knuckle deep up their nose! 

We wear "surgical" masks quite often. They may help block some airborne bugs. But, they definitely help keep our hands off our nose and mouth. 

We can't change others. All we can do is safeguard ourselves. Wash your hands. And, keep them away from your face and off of your food.

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It's easy to flush the toilet on the ship. Use a paper towel or toilet paper to shield your finger. There is pretty much always a trash bin by the door so you can wash your hands, open the door with a paper towel, and drop the paper towel in the trash on the way out. I always use my knuckle to push elevator buttons.

 

On the occasions when I walk through the buffet to get somewhere else I tend to put my hands in my pockets to indicate I'm not stopping for food. If I've just finished washing with soap and water in my cabin it's pretty silly to have to do it again just to pass through the buffet. When we enter to eat - even if I just made a cookie run for my wife in the evening - it's easy to wash before entering.

 

In the distant past I worked 4 years in a home daycare. I washed obsessively and everything had to be clean, clean, clean at all times. When I worked in IT I ended up touching mice, keyboards, printers, etc. that many others touched. Even with routers and switches I knew they had been handled by staff in the central office before shipping them to the field. I washed my hands a lot. No sense getting sick if one doesn't have to.

 

Sadly, what I can do only goes so far. We've never had the dreaded noro but have come home with a couple of really terrible colds. On one trip we had a great land tour in Alaska. When we boarded the ship we noticed a number of people coughing. By the end of the 7 day southbound to Vancouver it seemed like 80% of the passengers were coughing. Many of them didn't bother to cover their mouths. My wife and I both got really sick with colds that hung on and on.

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I would not call myself a germaphobe but buffets in general gross me out for many reasons. I’m bringing sani-hands to also clean my hands after I get my food so I can clean all of the disgusting stuff from my hands I picked up from all the utensil handles 🤢

 

I get to take one vacation a year and all of you who lack proper hygiene will not ruin it for me! 

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5 hours ago, JAT0303 said:

Another note, my practice is to wash or sanitize at the entrance to the buffet even though I may have just done it because I am aware that others are  concerned about getting sick and didn't see me wash my hands so it's a small thing for me to do.

 

 

 

I am the same way.  I would do it anyway, but at least anyone observing would know I am not contributing to the germs in the buffet.

 

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4 hours ago, Lindaru said:

 

I am the same way.  I would do it anyway, but at least anyone observing would know I am not contributing to the germs in the buffet.

 


Unless, of course, we touch our face afterwards.

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11 hours ago, Level six said:

I actually wash my hands before and after getting food in the buffet before I touch my utensils or eat a thing.  

By the time it takes to rewash your hands the food will be so cold it's not enjoyable any longer. 

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2 hours ago, MissP22 said:

By the time it takes to rewash your hands the food will be so cold it's not enjoyable any longer. 

True, but for me it is better to eat cold food than be sick for a vacation. 

 

Several of our travel mates got sick on our 42 day cruise last year and remained sick for 3 months after!!!  They had to visit the DR on board and at home several times and ended up on steroid/antibiotic treatment for quite a while.  But, it was more likely due to seating in the theater waiting for the show with all the coughing..........but, my husband and I did all the same things with them and we didn't get sick.  

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9 hours ago, Curt1591 said:


Unless, of course, we touch our face afterwards.

 

I do not touch my face again until I am seated and in the process of eating or after eating.  If I get up to get dessert, I sanitize again.

 

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I just completed my annual USPH refresher course in Miami, with all the USPH Inspectors and experts.

We talked about many things - as we always do. Many of them new developments.

 

We were reminded that two of the most unsanitary places around us are trousers pockets and ladies' purses.

Then the inspector asked how many of us were carrying mobile telephones.

Nearly everyone pulled a telephone out of a trouser pocket or purse.

 

Then the inspector asked us how often we sanitized our telephones.

Most of the attendees replied, "Never", or "Rarely".

 

Then he asked how often we pushed our smartphones against our faces, loaned them to others to push them against their faces, or passed them around so everyone could hold the telephone and see a photo or video.

Most in the room replied that they did this quite often.

 

Then the inspectors gave a presentation, predicting that mobile telephones will soon be the #1 cause of Norovirus infection on land and at sea.

 

An additional note on hand sanitizers. Most are barely effective against Viruses. For those few that do have some effect on viruses, one needs to be aware of something called "dwell time". This is the period of time that an anti-viral agent must remain in a liquid state in order to have any effect against viruses.

The few - extremely expensive - hand sanitizers that do kill norovirus spores require a dwell time of around 5 minutes.

 

If, like most people, you immediately shake or wipe your hands dry after applying a hand sanitizer, you have removed any chance that it will actually do something beneficial for you.

The same theory applies to your mobile telephone. If you apply sanitizer, the telephone must remain wet for at least 5 minutes to get any positive effect at all.

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Yikes!

I will say we do not carry telephones or devices into any eating area.

 

Unfortunately, it is less than five minutes after sanitizing (I let air dry, do not wipe dry) before I start filling my plate.

 

😲

 

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Many people seem to think they are washing their hands by giving them a quick rinse of water.   You might as well do nothing for all the good that does.   You must use hot water, soap, and wash for at least a minute before you can hope to get rid of most of the germs, but probably still not all.

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Excellent information from Donald (Post #213). I’m sending his post to all my friends.

Thanks Donald,

Tony

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18 hours ago, Coffeeluvr05 said:

I would not call myself a germaphobe but buffets in general gross me out for many reasons. I’m bringing sani-hands to also clean my hands after I get my food so I can clean all of the disgusting stuff from my hands I picked up from all the utensil handles 🤢

 

 

Why not wear disposable 'examination' gloves as you go thorough the line, and discard them prior to eating?

 

 

 

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4 minutes ago, Roberto256 said:

 

Why not wear disposable 'examination' gloves as you go thorough the line, and discard them prior to eating?

 

 

 

That’s a great idea, but the sani hands wipes are easier to carry for me. 

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25 minutes ago, Roberto256 said:

 

Why not wear disposable 'examination' gloves as you go thorough the line, and discard them prior to eating?

 

 

 

That and one of those medical masks might help. 

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28 minutes ago, Roberto256 said:

 

Why not wear disposable 'examination' gloves as you go thorough the line, and discard them prior to eating?

 

 

 

 

1 minute ago, MissP22 said:

That and one of those medical masks might help. 


We can add this to the list of compulsory requirements to enter the dining area !


As post #213 illustrates, disease is everywhere. Adding to that, there is nothing we can do about "those people".

Even if we all left the house wearing hazmat suits, in time, even those would become contaminated. 

Long ago, I read an article that said that many "food borne" illnesses aren't from the food itself; they are from our own hands. The author implied that it could be most.

But, then again, there are studies that will just about conclude anything.

But, since it seems pretty clear that there is very little we can actually do to truly eliminate contaminated hands, it's simply best to keep them out of our food. 

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3 hours ago, Donald said:

 

Then he asked how often we pushed our smartphones against our faces, loaned them to others to push them against their faces, or passed them around so everyone could hold the telephone and see a photo or video.

Most in the room replied that they did this quite often.

 

Then the inspectors gave a presentation, predicting that mobile telephones will soon be the #1 cause of Norovirus infection on land and at sea.

 

That's.. not very surprising actually but I never thought about it. Then again, how can you measure the cause when literally everyone is walking around with a phone these days.

Does it mean that the "wash your hands" instruction videos will be adapted to include "keep your phone to yourself"?

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It is easier than you think to avoid illness outbreaks on cruise ships.

 

1. Avoid large mass market ships. Packing thousands of people into close quarters for days at a time is just begging for trouble. The big ships have confirmed NLV cases on an hourly basis on many days. It is unusual for a big ship to get through a single day with nobody reporting NLV symptoms.

 

2. Splurge a bit and take a cruise in "Business Class". Small elegant ships are often much better values than the cheapie mass market cruises. Small ships rarely have any outbreaks of any kind. In the past 18 months, my ship (less than 300 pax) has had one case of suspected Norovirus with a crewmember, and zero cases of NLV with guests.

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6 hours ago, Roberto256 said:

 

Why not wear disposable 'examination' gloves as you go thorough the line, and discard them prior to eating?

 

 

 

Why not take a cruise on a ship where you do not have to go in a line to eat something?

Problem solved.

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6 hours ago, Donald said:

Why not take a cruise on a ship where you do not have to go in a line to eat something?

Problem solved.

As you know, no forces anyone to to to the buffet. It just convenient instead of spending over an hour to have lunch and many times, 1 3/4 hours for dinner.

 

We have never had any problems catching anything at any of the buffets and other than washing our hands when leaving the room it's worked fine for us.

The sanitizer is a joke and all it does it dry out my hands.

I've given up on using it years ago. 

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