For anyone who’s ever been sick on vacation, you’re well aware of the awful feeling. While your working aboard you often don’t have the amenities and comforts of home, so a simple cold can be a miserable experience. While pretty much impossible not to, you can always minimize your risk of getting sick during your contract; here’s how.

1. Wash your hands
Since many people still don’t know the correct way to wash their hands, let me lay it out for you.

Turn on the water to a temperature as hot as you can stand, wet your hands, apply soap, and lather for the amount of time it takes to sing “Happy Birthday” (singing out loud is optional). Pay special attention to under your nails, and between your fingers. Rinse your hands, dry them, and turn off the tap with the paper towel. Use the paper towel to open the door handle to the bathroom.

You should be doing this often – after the washroom, at random times during the day, before and after eating – just not enough that you start to irritate the skin on your hands. Simple enough, right?

2. If you can’t wash your hands, sanitize them
For public health regulations, modern cruise liners will have hand sanitizer stations in public and crew areas – use them to your advantage. They’ll dispense the right amount of sanitizer automatically, and all you’ve got to do is rub your hands together. When you don’t have the time to wash your hands – use these. Just remember that while they are
extremely effective at killing germs, they don’t actually clean the dirt off.

3. Eat Healthy
While often difficult, this should be a priority. Keeping a healthy diet will not only aid your immune system, but leave you feeling better all over. Make sure you’re keeping hydrated – stock up on some water bottles for your room so you don’t need to make the
late night trek to the water fountain five decks up.

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4. Exercise
Go to a yoga class, go for a run on the track, a walk on the promenade deck, lift weights at the crew gym. Whatever your exercise fix is, keeping it as a habit will build a healthy body fit to deal with infection.

5. Get some sleep, get some sun
Naps will become your best friend. Eventually you’ll learn when to time them to optimize your health during the few breaks you have in the day. When you’re not hitting the hay, visit the crew or passenger sun decks for some fresh air, warm sun, and the smell of the sea. While the direct benefit to your health might not seem that apparent, it’ll leave you feeling much better anyways. Don’t forget your sunscreen!

6. Relax
It’s hard not to get caught up in the ship’s stressful atmosphere. A few stressed individuals are able to have an enormous amount of influence on the mental and
eventually physical health of colleagues around them. Take time throughout the day to do things that relax you – and always remember that it’s just a job. Chill out and enjoy the ride.

7. If all else fails, see the doctor
Almost all modern cruise liners will have a medical bay with a full medical team. If you’re feeling under the weather, you always have the option of visiting them for a check up on your health, and an assortment of remedies to get you feeling ship shape.

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