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Healthful precautions will make honeymoon cruise smooth sailing

Recent reports of cruise ship illnesses don't mean you should cancel your honeymoon voyage.

"By asking questions before boarding and taking some simple precautions be-fore, during and after your cruise, you should have a safe and healthy vacation," said Dr. Robert Wheeler, chairman of the American College of Emergency Physi-cians Section on Cruise Ship and Maritime Medicine.

To help honeymooners avoid illnesses on their once-in-a-lifetime cruise, the ACEP offers the following health tips:

Before boarding

• Obtain the immunizations you need and any preventive medicine for such illnesses as malaria.

• Refill your medications and keep them in your carry-on luggage.

• Plan for medical emergencies by preparing a traveler's medicine kit and checking if your health insurance covers medical emergencies abroad.

• Ask if there is a ship physician who is prepared to treat a variety of illnesses and injuries, including many life-threatening conditions.

All aboard

• While you are on a cruise, wash your hands often, including before and after meals; after such activities as sports, games, casino, pool, exercise; and after using the restroom or caring for a sick person.

• When you are in foreign ports, drink water and eat foods only from sources you know are safe.

Avoid drinking tap water, even in ice cubes. Instead, drink bottled water.

Avoid raw or uncooked foods. Only eat fruit you have peeled yourself.

Due to the high sanitation standards of the cruise industry, food and water provided aboard ship is typically safe to eat and drink.

• Protect yourself from insect bites with insect repellent and by wearing pants and long sleeves outdoors when mosquitoes are most active.

• Keep your shoes on outside. When you're walking on the beach, wear sandals or thongs to prevent infection from mi-croorganisms, insects and worms.

• Be aware of where you swim.

Hazardous marine life, bacteria, viruses and parasites may dwell in seawater as well as freshwater streams, rivers, lakes, and ponds.

Back home

When you get home, be sure to contact your doctor if you have any unexplained symptoms within a couple of weeks or months of your trip.

Describe the areas where you've been.

Make sure you finish all the medications that were prescribed for you.

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