(NaturalNews) 400 passengers and crew aboard two Christmas cruise ships sailing in the Caribbean have been sickened by what health officials believe is the winter vomiting bug, or Norovirus. According to federal health authorities, the first outbreak occurred a few days before Christmas on the grand-class cruise ship the Emerald Princess, where 189 passengers and 31 crew members developed vomiting and diarrhea. The second outbreak was reported on the Queen Mary 2 ocean liner, affecting 194 passengers and 11 crew members.
Sombre Christmas for infected passengers
Since procedure requires that outbreaks are reported when more than 2% of the crew and passengers show symptoms of infection, the CDC learned about the Queen Mary 2 situation right on Christmas day. Several people that have been on the cruise ships mentioned that the staff has taken steps to contain the infection.
"The festivities continue and those of us who have avoided this virus continue to enjoy the many offerings we come to expect and appreciate. For those passengers who have been exposed, they are confined to their cabins until declared safe to come out", said one of the Emerald Princess passengers.
A passenger of the Queen Mary 2, however, is less enthusiastic about the prospect of continuing the cruise. "There is a sense of foreboding, with everyone worried that they will be next to come down with the illness", she said.
Norovirus kills 800 people each year, while over 21 million are infected and 70,000 require hospitalization.
What is Norovirus?
A highly contagious infectious agent, Norovirus is transmitted through contaminated food and water supplies, but also from person to person, with potentially disastrous effects in closed communities, such as camps, hospitals, prisons, schools and cruise ships. The virus is the most common cause of acute gastroenteritis (or stomach flu), a type of gastrointestinal tract inflammation.
Symptoms of stomach flu include abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, and watery diarrhea, coupled with muscle weakness and cramps, low-grade fever, and lethargy. Infants and the elderly are most vulnerable, but immunocompromised individuals may even die from severe Norovirus infections.
Home remedies against Norovirus
While the most efficient way to get rid of Norovirus is to disinfect exposed surfaces and eliminate the source of infection, there are several natural remedies that can bolster immunity and help beat the stomach bug faster and easier.
The most important thing when dealing with vomiting and diarrhea is staying hydrated, so drinking plenty of liquids is also the first measure against Norovirus infection.
Peppermint tea is popular among herbalists for its proven antispasmodic properties, and its ability to swiftly relieve pains and stomach problems, particularly diarrhea.
Apple cider vinegar has been known to have antimicrobial functions, while ginger root is a traditional tummy soother, and its unique properties can help control vomiting.
Coconut water-based probiotic beverages boost immunity by inhibiting the growth of pathogens, and have been known to aid against diarrhea causing viruses, including Norovirus.
About the author: Raw Michelle is a natural health blogger and researcher, sharing her passions with others, using the Internet as her medium. She discusses topics in a straight forward way in hopes to help people from all walks of life achieve optimal health and well-being. She has authored and published hundreds of articles on topics such as the raw food diet and green living in general.