Whether you’re a sailor, a scuba diver, a fisherman, love cruises or just can’t get enough of being on the water, you have probably had at least one bout of seasickness in your time.
Even for people who live on the boats full-time, seasickness can still be a problem on a regular basis.
Nothing can spoil a trip quite like feeling like you might vomit on a member of your crew, family or dog at any moment.
It’s even worse when you need to perform—like when you’re the one who is supposed to be in charge of navigating everyone safely through a storm, or when you’re doing your scuba diving certification test…
But you can’t keep your mind on anything but getting rid of that horrible feeling!
The problem is that some remedies work for some and not for others.
Things can unexpectedly take a turn for the worse: some cruises are rough, but your body doesn’t react so badly.
And often, there is no reasonable explanation for how good or bad you feel. Maybe that was because you ate a healthy breakfast beforehand, you wonder…
Can you psych yourself into not feeling it?
You need remedies. Often, multiple ones for different members of your family or crew.
In this two-part article, I’m gonna cover all the symptoms, options and how to deal with children on their first experience on board a vessel. Without giving them a fright.
THE SYMPTOMS & CAUSE OF SEASICKNESS
If you do get seasick, you’re far from alone.
Around 80% of the population suffer from motion sickness at some time in their lives, whether it’s caused by a rocky sea, land- or air-based travel or a health issue.
Motion sickness can cause dizziness, nausea, vomiting, cold sweats, a throbbing headache and or anxiety, say internists Eve Glazier, MD, MBA and Elizabeth Ko, MD.
It’s caused by confusion in the body, but isn’t well understood.
When one part of your balance-sensing system (your inner ear, eyes and sensory nerves) sense that your body is moving, but the other parts don’t, you feel that motion sickness.
NATURAL REMEDIES AND USEFUL TIPS
There are both natural and pharmaceutical solutions to seasickness, from electricity to ale.
More on how to combine them later. Let’s start by looking at each, one by one.
Acupressure (and Sea-Bands)
Sea-Bands have been clinically tested against travel-induced nausea and vomiting.
Choppy seas beware! These wristbands exert gentle pressure on specific points on each wrist. One size fits all, and they can be combined with any other remedy.
They’ve worked for me!
Use Electricity (The Relief Band Explorer)
Just kidding. We’re not talking shock therapy here, just a gentle, low-level electrical current that helps you control your motion sickness quickly.
This watch-like device prevents and treats the nausea and has no side-effects. You control the level and duration of relief via the Relief Band Explorer’s five settings. You set it to the highest comfortable setting when you feel queasy and get a mild tingling sensation on the inside of your wrist. After a few minutes, symptoms decrease and you can switch to a lower setting or turn the unit off.
These devices are good for people who don’t find the Sea-Bands hit the spot. The Relief Band Explorer’s are FDA approved for the treatment of nausea. They can be combined with other medications.
Hyland’s Motion Sickness Relief Tablets are made with a homeopathic formula that stimulate the body’s natural healing response to relieve symptoms.
These sweet little tablets are great for both children and adults, and can be combined with other meds, too.
Ginger and Its Ale
Ginger in its many forms is a hugely popular and often-effective seasickness solution.
Ginger root capsules can help, especially if you don’t like the taste of ginger.
Start taking them a few days before you travel, or as soon as you think there might be a storm in sight.
One 1000 mg or two 500 mg capsules per day is a good dosage.
Blackmores Travel Calm Ginger is one example of a (400 mg) ginger tablet that’s made from a non-drowsy formula and is suitable for children who are over 6 years old. It also helps with digestion, reducing flatulence, gastrointestinal muscular spasm and colic.
Sailor’s Secret Premium Ginger is another great option.
Ginger Ale is another nice option if your nausea isn’t too bad and the sweetness is attractive to you. Sip for best results.
This non-drug product is an all-natural inhaled seasickness reliever that was proven effective in hospital studies.
It was formulated and developed by a US Certified Registered Nurse anesthetist to calm surgery- and anesthesia-related queasiness.
Made from peppermint, lavender, ginger and spearmint essential oils, it’s suitable for all ages and is very cost-effective.
You remove the cap, take a few deep breaths of the aromatic vapor when needed and then put the cap back on. Done. Quease Ease lasts for 6-8 months if you’re careful to replace the cap properly, and it doesn’t react with any other meds.
Eat, But Not Too Much
Kim Brown from Sailing Britican has a new ebook on seasickness. She says, “For me, I often chew quite a bit of gum. For some reason it settles my stomach. Hard candies also work well.”
You should also make sure there’s a small and healthy meal in your stomach before setting out for choppy waters.
Oatmeal, a banana or a little bread can work well. If you’re already out on the water, take small bites and chew and swallow very slowly.
And don’t eat too much!
Get in the Water
Though a scientist recently proved that fish can actually get seasick, getting in the water while out boating can actually help HUGELY.
Kevin Wagar from Wandering Wagars says:
“While on a dolphin and whale-watching excursion in Costa Rica, I came down with a SERIOUS case of seasickness. We had no medication on board the small boat, so the only way I could get relief was by jumping into the ocean from time to time. Not only did it give me an opportunity to clean myself up, but being in the waves rather than above them instantly calmed my stomach. I also caught the attention of a massive whale shark, who swam up to investigate what I was doing in the water in the middle of the ocean. So my seasickness led to one of the coolest travel experiences I’ve ever had!”
Lie Down or Sleep
Simply lying down and closing your eyes helps comfort the middle ear, relieve tension and prevents the conflicting messages being sent around your body during seasickness.
Margherita Ragg from The Crowded Planet relates her experience:
“I traveled to Australia for an ethical shark dive, using music rather than food to attract these mighty predators. We took off from Port Lincoln early in the morning and headed towards the tiny Neptune Islands, about three hours away. Sea conditions are very often rough there, and that morning I had forgotten to do the only thing that usually helps—eating a healthy, hearty breakfast, such as muesli and fruit. Sure enough, a few minutes into the trip I experienced those familiar sea-sickness pangs, which stayed with me for most of the journey. I ended up sleeping most of the way, which allowed me to enjoy the wonderful shark encounter we had later that day.”
Take The Helm
What could be more natural for someone who loves boating than taking the helm?
This funny trick can work well if land is in sight 😉 Combine that with some fresh air, and Bob’s your uncle!
Some say they sail on catamarans and don’t get seasick at all!
So if you get sick a lot, maybe monohulls are not for you?
Test and see.
Check out Part 2 for drug store medicine, how to deal with kids, 16 more awesome tips and remedy combinations for different seasickness severities!
Images courtesy of Oliver Ruhm and heymrleej,on Flickr and Wikimedia.