How to Prevent Seasickness
First, let me say that I am not a physician, but I have been on more than 40 cruise sailings. As a professional cruise consultant I have hundreds of active cruise customers and clients. I have dear family members who have accompanied me who suffer from severe motion sickness, and I personally am a gastric bypass recipient where food tolerance and stomach distress are daily issues for me, even on good days. So, while my expertise does not come from medical training, I do have a good deal of valuable personal knowledge and insight to offer on the subject.
My first tip, should be that of my hat – to the cruise line industry in that recent innovations made to ship stabilizer systems on today’s modern cruise vessels have greatly improved the experience of a smoother ride for many cruisers. That being said, as with any venture out into open waters can attest to the fact that Oceans are still what they are, and can at times become rather “tossed-about” in their nature.
Initially, I think you should be asking yourself, do YOU suffer from severe motion sickness symptoms. If you answer yes, then I strongly recommend a visit with your family physician prior to your cruise and consider having them prescribe medication, and better yet consider a trans-dermal patch for use during your entire cruise. Also, don’t make the mistake of thinking you feel fine and either fail to use or discontinue use of your patch(and/or other medications) before you complete your cruise and travel, as you may well find yourself feeling very sorry for doing so.
OK, so the balance of my writing here will be focused on what the everyday person who only experiences occasional effects with respect to motion sickness faces in their travels.
Seasickness (as it is often called) is actually Motion sickness, which is a very common disturbance of the inner ear that is caused by repeated motion. In addition to sea travel, motion sickness can develop from the movement of a car or from turbulence in an airplane. The symptoms of motion sickness are nausea, vomiting, dizziness, sweating, and a sense of just not feeling well. These symptoms arise from the inner ear (labyrinth) due to changes in one’s sense of balance and equilibrium.
In my opinion, Seasickness is best thought of as a prevention issue, as your condition prior to boarding your cruise (or plane to get there for that matter) is probably more important to anything else you can do. While it may be impossible to prevent all situations and ailments from motion sickness, the following tips may be a help to you in the prevention or lessening the severity of motion sickness:
- Monitor and give thought to your consumption of foods, drinks, and be sure to AVOID alcohol before and during travel (as it actually causes dehydration to the body), and makes you more vulnerable to motion sickness.You should also avoid excessive caffeine, and acidic foods or liquids intake that “do not agree with you” or make you feel unusually full. Heavy, spicy, or foods that are rich in fat may actually worsen motion sickness for some. Suggestion: Rather than consuming a filling meal prior to boarding your ship, consider smaller more frequent snacks until you have gotten aboard the ship and know better how you feel. Consequently, you should never travel on an empty stomach either, and be sure to take in plenty of water prior to/and during your travel(s).
- Try to choose a seat where you will experience the least amount of motion possible. As a former flight attendant, I can attest to the fact that the middle of an airplane over the wing is generally thought to be the calmest area of an airplane. When choosing your stateroom on a ship, those in mid-level staterooms, and near the center of a ship generally experience less motion than passengers cruising in higher or those located in the extreme forward or aft staterooms.
- Try to avoid being in close proximity to the preparation of foods that can give off strong food odors which can enhance the symptoms of nausea. If it becomes unavoidable try sucking on a lemon drop, or other hard candy, as your sense of smell can often be overcome by doing this. Another natural remedy for the effects of stomach distress held by many cruisers is the use of Ginger. Ginger root comes in various forms of pills, drops, powder, and even candy. As well as available in lower doseage commercial products such as teas, cookies, cakes, and breads. While this is not a scientifically proven treatment, many of my cruise passengers attest to its efectiveness.
- Avoid sitting in a backwards facing position from your direction of travel. Definitely when travelling by car, you should endeavor to sit in the front seat. Be sure to explain this need to your travel partner(s), so when situations arise while travelling, they understand your needs in advance.
- Do not read while traveling if you are prone to motion sickness. Also, it is advisable to not view thru binoculars or use cameras for prolonged periods as this can actually enhance the onset of motion sickness.
- Whenever you travel by auto or boat, it can sometimes help to keep your vision focused on the horizon or on a fixed point. Never stare at the waves or other moving objects. While inside the cruise ship try to focus on walls or items of furniture as compared to looking out the windows.
- Definitely be sure to get a full, and good night’s sleep before embarking onto your cruise ship. Try your best to avoid getting or becoming stressed as well.
- Be sure to steer clear of others who may be suffering from the effects of motion sickness. Just overhearing others talk about motion sickness or seeing others experiencing such ill effects can sometimes lead to you becoming sick or feeling ill yourself.
- Be sure to remain close to an open window, vent, or other source of fresh air if possible. If traveling by Motor coach, always sit toward the front of the bus, never in the rear that is susceptible to diesel fumes. When traveling by ship, AVOID the lower decks that are closest to the engine rooms that again put off toxic diesel odors, which can either keep you feeling seasick or cause it to occur.
- There are medications that can help. Be sure to consult with your physician prior to departing for your vacation. One such measure that has been tried by many cruisers is electronic wristbands that operate by applying acupressure on a specific nerve (the P6-neiguan) in the wrist that is thought to control nausea and vomiting. While there are over-the-counter medications such as meclizine (found in Bonine, Antivert, and Dramamine, which are normally available in the cruise gift shops) can be a very effective preventive measure for short trips or for mild cases of motion sickness. Your doctor also may choose to prescribe medications for longer trips, or if you repeatedly develop severe motion sickness. An example of a prescription medication is a patch containing scopolamine (Transderm-Scop) that often is effective in preventing motion sickness. Remember that scopolamine can cause drowsiness and has other side effects, such as blurred vision, etc., and its use should be discussed with your physician prior to your trip.
I truly hope that you have found some information here that you can take away with you on your next cruise or travel adventure that will be a help in combating the effects of motionsickness and seasickness. Bon Voyage!- CruisewithMike
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