Tips for Sea Sickness

Everyone has experienced it at least once in their life. And if you haven't you're either super lucky, or just need to get out more. Motion sickness is such a horrible feeling, especially when you're on a boat, miles from shore. It is my absolute fear.

tips for sea sickness

Why does motion sickness happen? To talk science, our body’s primary motion-sensors include the inner-ear, our eyes and deeper tissues of the body surface. The inner-ear sensors detect changes in acceleration rather than motion, such as the movement a boat makes when bobbing on top of waves in the ocean. When our body’s internal instruments sense these acceleration changes, and those changes aren’t confirmed by other sensory inputs, such as visual feedback from our eyes, the conflict in the sets of data they deliver to the brain can trigger motion sickness. Scientists aren’t sure what causes the nausea that comes with motion sickness, but the most popular idea is that the conflicting data from multiple sensors causes the brain to assume that toxins have been ingested, and the body’s automatic response is to internally induce vomiting. Gross.

Our trip out on Kachemak Bay was, at times, a bit of a rocky one.  But luckily, by following the tips for sea sickness below, I didn't end up feeding the fishes and was one happy camper, or boater in this case.

Keep hydrated
Continue to drink plenty of fluids while on board. This will help keep your stomach more full and will help your body metabolize food and process everything else better.

Eat
A meal before you board is highly important. For most people, an empty stomach is more sensitive to being irritated, so filling it with food 45-60 minutes before leaving shore is smart. Load up on carbohydrates at breakfast and avoid acidic and greasy foods, as they may contribute to motion sickness.

Keep your mind clear
Even a mild hangover can easily turn into motion sickness. Likewise, fatigue also predisposes you to motion sickness.

Position yourself in the centre
Brace yourself at the centre of the boat where the rocking and rolling is less amplified. Standing in different locations on the boat’s deck will result in different amounts of acceleration being transferred to your body.  

Apply pressure
For centuries, traditional Chinese medicine has included acupuncture or acupressure on the inside of the wrist, at a spot called P6, as a way to suppress the nausea associated with motion sickness. You can find simple pressure bands like Sea-Band and Acuband at your local drug store, usually right beside anti-nausea medicines. These are bracelets with dots that, when worn correctly, touch acupressure points on your wrist. They have never been proven effective, but some people swear by them.

Prescription meds
One of the most widely recommended remedies is Transderm Scop, a scopolamine patch applied behind the ear at least eight hours before exposure, with effectiveness for up to three days. Available only by prescription, the Scop is only preventive, not a treatment, and acts by reducing activity of nerve fibres in your inner ear. 

Over-the-counter meds
Meds like Dramamine, Bonine and even antihistamines like Benadryl can help quell motion sickness by blocking sensory-nerve transmission, which is a fancy way of saying they interrupt the flow of information from various places like the inner ear to the brain. One common side effect with these medicines is sleepiness, so be weary if driving the boat. Whatever medicine you chose, make sure to take it at least 30 minutes before you board for best effects. After you feel queasy, it may be too late for pills to help. 

Note: Dramamine is my favourite prevention method. I have not been able to find it in Canada, so I always load up when I'm in the States. I go for the non-drowsy version.

Watch the horizon
At the most basic level, motion sickness is a matter of sensory mismatch. When you're sitting on a boat that's rolling on the water, the body, inner ear and eyes all send different signals to the brain. Your brain gets confused and you get queasy. Stop tinkering with your computer and equipment and look out on the horizon, which usually appears very stable. Avoid visually focusing on things that are close-by, and most especially, avoid reading for more than a few seconds at a time. Also, face the direction the boat is traveling.Your peripheral vision will see the ocean swells that you feel. The whole picture will make more sense to your brain.

Distract yourself
Relax. Anxiety contributes to motion sickness. Those who are frightened by the ocean and the movement of the boat, are more likely to become motion sick. Instead think about the fun activities planned, or the beautiful sights around you.

Make the best of it
Ya, it blows that your head may be hanging over the edge, feeding the fishes. But, let's face it, you're on a boat, in the water, and chances are probably some place pretty incredible. So why not make the best of it?


Can't forget to add my husband's 'unofficial' tip for sea sickness: Before you head out on the water, take a shot of hard alcohol. You won't know if the feeling is the buzz or sea sickness. This doubles as a cheers to the Captain. (Please note, this has not been scientifically proven, only SW tested and approved.)


Do you have any tips for combatting sea sickness?


 photo TampF sig_zpsi50j9kbk.jpg

20 comments :

  1. I found that the best thing against sea-sickness is to prevent it in the first place. Once you have to throw up, there's not really much you can do.....so I always bring anti-motion-sickness chewing gums and pills with me whenever I travel and use the chewing gum even on the plane while starting and landing. When I go on a cruise I use the Transderm plaster too but it really shouldn't be used for a 1 hour boat trip or something. It's definitely something for longer trips. Oh and I've heard great things about the wrist band too! Still need to check that out!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I definitely agree! I've never tried the patch, but have only heard good things. Thanks for sharing your tips :)

      Delete
  2. I don't usually get seasick, but I did once on a speedboat ferry in Thailand. Wish I'd had these tips! One thing I didn't realize was that you can become temporarily lactose intolerant after being seasick and throwing up. My "temporary" lasted about a year. So, yeah, that sucked, and if you get seasick, go easy on your stomach for a while!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have never heard of that before, but that's really interesting, and definitely something to keep in mind.

      Delete
  3. Dramamine is my ultimate saviour for seasickness. I'd never heard of it growing up though and only recently discovered this magical medicine while in Central America earlier this year. I get SO sick SO easily it seems, especially compared to those around me who don't take any preventatives at all, and now I don't even mess around. Like you said, once you're already vomiting it's too late, so now I always take precautions so I can fully enjoy the boat ride.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Love Dramamine! I've only ever taken the non-drowsy kind, and it seems to work really well. The regular gravol doesn't sit so well with me. I'm the same way, I've never puked (knock on wood), but I always seem to feel shady quicker than everyone else. Sometimes I just think its in my head.

      Delete
  4. These are great tips! I don't recall ever being very sea sick but I do get car sick sometimes. I find that chewing gum helps, I have no idea why.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! I should try the gum. I tend to get car sick if I read for too long.

      Delete
  5. I've always been prone to motion sickness, especially on smaller boats. Eating a regular meal, staying hydrated and taking an over the counter med. such as Dramamine have always helped to fight away the nausea. I'll definitely keeps these tips in mind for the next time I'm on the water!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Smaller boats do it to me too. I used to let it prevent me from going out, now that I have these tips, I know how to prevent or at least minimize it.

      Delete
  6. Wow, great tips! I've dealt with this most of my life (especially sea-sickness, but also in the car) and I think having a good healthy meal before heading out is paramount! But some of these I had no idea, I'm definitely bookmarking so I am prepared for next time! Never tried dramamine before but I think it might be time to start...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ya, definitely give it a try. It may be all it my head, but seems to work for me :)

      Delete
  7. Haha, I love your hubby's tip. Sounds good to me ;) I actually grew up with boats so I don't really get sea sick. I am going on a one week boat cruise in September and a few friends coming are afraid of getting sea sick! Will tell them these tips! Thanks :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lucky you! Ya his tip is pretty good, I'm not sure if it's all in my head, but it seems to work.

      Delete
  8. Replies
    1. I've never tried it, but have heard good things!

      Delete
  9. I get terribly seasick, but I am sick of missing out on all of the fun on my bf's family boat- I am going to try combining acupressure with Dramamine and looking at the horizon next time. Thanks for the tips!
    xo
    Jamie
    http://snapginger.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. For the longest time I used to not go out on boats because I was afraid. Dramamine has become my friend since then :)

      Delete
  10. Great post, Mar! Very useful too. I don't suffer from terrible sea sickness but if the water is really fierce and it's a tiny boat I might not feel all that great. Thanks for sharing your tips! :)

    ReplyDelete
  11. Considering Chiropractor? chiropractor massage therapy Toronto is a truly amazing practice that can help improve quality of life, relieve stress, cure PMS, boost energy, improve sleep, settle mood swings, relieve aches and pains and help stay balanced during life transitions such as the end of relationships and much more. Below is a list of just some of the many amazing things that Chiropractor can do.

    ReplyDelete

I would love to hear from you!