Sickness on board the boat is not something I like to blog about. Libby especially feels it an invasion of her privacy if I write that she's not feeling good. Fortunately, it is not something that we have to deal with often because we very seldom get sick.
However, seldom does not mean never. I got my flu shot for this season but last Friday I came down with the flu anyhow. I spent 3-4 days being very miserable and letting Libby nurse me. I think it has been more than 40 years since I was that sick before. But now, I'm 85% recovered and willing to write about it.
Cruisers get sick less often than the general public for the simple and obvious reason that they have less contact with other people. The more time you spend in contact, and the larger the groups you are in contact with, the greater your exposure. If our contacts are mostly to other cruisers, then exposure is reduced. Contacts with children, or in a doctor's office, or a hospital, would make exposure go way up. If it was just Libby and I out at sea for weeks at a time it would be extremely unlikely for us to come down with an infectious disease. Who would we catch it from?
On the other hand, our offshore custom with just the two of us as crew leaves us largely unprepared for incapcitation of either of the crew. I'm afraid that we would fail at our duty to keep a sharp watch out 24x7 unless both of us were in top shape. For the kind of coastal cruising we do, our backup is to change plans and head immediately to the nearest port in case of sickness. For ocean crossings, I just don't believe we would be safe without additional crew.
What about single-handed ocean crossers and circumnavigators? Sorry, I believe that all captains have the moral obligation to keep a 24x7 watch and single-handers can't do it.
What about sea-sickness? mal-de-mar? We encountered that a couple of times. We have remedies on board which include an electric-shock wristband that Libby uses when the need for relief is immediate and drastic. It works.