Seasickness includes nausea, dizziness, cold sweats and headache which can occur on sailboats, charter boats, ferryboats and even cruise ships. Unfortunately, once you become seasick it can take a long time till you fully recover.
Seasickness, which is a form of motion sickness, occurs when your brain receives conflicting information that your body is moving up and down and yet your eyes can’t verify the motion. The following do’s and don’ts should help you through the personal discomfort and help you gain your sea legs.
- avoid seasickness
- stand on the deck and focus on the horizon
- face the direction of the boat and let fresh air blow on your face
- lie down on your back and close your eyes
- keep your cabin well ventilated
- consider taking preventative over the counter or prescription medicines
- eat ginger, peppermint, and green apples
- wear acupressure bracelets to relieve nausea
- read anything
- overload on fatty foods
- choose the wrong cabins
- stress over getting seasick
The best treatment for seasickness is prevention because once it’s started, it is difficult to stop and you could find yourself stuck in your onboard bathroom for a very long time. If you have a history of seasickness, you may want to avoid small boats and on cruise ships you should book a cabin as close to the center of the ship as possible to minimize the up and down and back and forth motions.
If you're starting to feel sick, make your way outside to the deck and focus your eyes on the horizon where the water meets the sky. The intent is to reestablish your body’s equilibrium by reconnecting your brain signals with your eyes validating the motion.
If feeling sick you should stand facing the direction the boat is moving in and let the fresh air blow on your face.
If you are inside or below decks and start to feel the onset of seasickness, try lying down flat on your back and closing your eyes. Try to empty your mind and not think about the motion. Try to relax your body.
The nausea will only get worse if your cabin has any foul smelling odors or is stale or humid. This can be off-set by making sure your cabin is well ventilated and the air feels fresh.
On a cruise the ship’s doctor will probably have medications for both prevention and treatment of seasickness. For charter boats and shorter trips you will need to bring your own medication. Depending upon your sensitivity to seasickness, you may require over the counter medications or if severe, a prescription from a doctor.
Scopolamine is the most popular prescription drug for motion sickness and is delivered through a patch worn behind the ear. The patch lasts up to three days and has side effects of dry mouth, blurry vision and drowsiness.
Antihistamines including Dramamine, Bonine and Benadryl are also popular to combat seasickness and alleviate nausea. Take before you board the boat to ensure the drugs are in full affect before heading out on your voyage.
As a natural alternative to medication, eating ginger, peppermint and even green apples are all commonly recognized as remedies to prevent and relieve seasickness.
Another alternative to medication are acupressure bracelets, also known as sea bands. They are worn on each wrist where they apply pressure to an acupuncture point on the palm side called pericardium 6.
If your feeling nauseated you should never try to read anything. Reading will make you feel worse.
On cruises the food there are many fatty foods available, and being on vacation you are tempted and even encouraged to go crazy. If you're susceptible to seasickness you need to avoid fatty foods such as red meat and pastas in exchange for fruits, vegetables, fish and shellfish. Be mindful however of eating raw and undercooked seafood in which case you could exchange seasickness for food poisoning.
If you are susceptible to seasickness choosing the cabins that have the worst rocking motion can be disastrous. The cabins with the least motion are in the center of the boat near the waterline. The worst motion is usually associated with cabins on the upper deck towards the bow.
Simply stressing over the thought of a boat trip and the possibility of getting seasick can actually bring on seasickness. In fact some people can get seasick just looking at a boat. So for some the challenge will be to remain calm especially if you have any sense of the onset of nausea.
Seasickness can completely ruin a boat trip or cruise vacation. Some people who have a history of getting sick can actually train themselves to overcome becoming seasick. They do this by repeatedly going out on a boat to induce sickness and through habituation they become immune to becoming sick.