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Easy Ways to Keep from Getting Seasick
So, you’ve booked the ultimate luxury cruise experience. But there’s a big problem you can’t avoid - seasickness. If you don’t want to be laid up in your ship’s hotel room, running for the washroom every time a wave crashes the starboard, you will have to find ways to brave the seasickness.
In this article, we discuss all the possible ways you can minimize your seasickness and have a comfortable and enjoyable cruise.
What Is Seasickness?
Seasickness is a type of motion sickness experienced on water-borne vehicles like boats and ships, just as you would in land vehicles like cars and trains. It may involve feeling nauseous, dizzy, vomiting, headaches, cold sweats, or vertigo. Cases can be mild and bearable or severe, making you indisposed.
Essentially seasickness happens because your brain gets perplexed by the contrasting signals from your eyes and your inner ear i.e., visual versus vestibular information clashes.
Solutions for Seasickness
Here are some solutions mentioned below for seasickness.
Get Used to Motion Sickness
If you are someone who gets motion sick, start amping up your exposure to the sensation gradually. For example, if you get sick in cars, try to increase the duration you sit in the car.
Or if you feel sick while reading in a moving vehicle, increase the time you experiment with. Your body will get become familiarized with the sensation and this reduced discomfort translated onboard a ship as well.
Pick a Position
When on board always face the direction in which the boat is moving and opt for a place in front of the boat to minimize the dissonance between the visual and inner ear signals.
On a ship, the lower-level cabins at the center of the boat are more stable and rock less than those towards the periphery or higher up. The midsection of the upper decks is also relatively comfortable. Try different positions to see what keeps nausea at bay.
Some people prefer to lie down as this reduces histamine flow to the brain, while others prefer to sit up. Whatever you do, don’t huddle alongside others who are sick, because the company of other seasick people who talk about feeling unwell will raise your anxiety and make you uncomfortable too.
Positive Reinforcement of Thoughts
This may seem impossible but it has actually worked for people to calm themselves down and keep these feelings at bay. Even if doesn't work, it's always good to psych yourself up. It may hold the symptoms at bay, even temporarily.
Get tons of rest before you embark on the high seas as sleep deprivation and a feeling of not being rested can exacerbate your symptoms.
Take advantage of your surroundings and get lots of fresh air. Get a deck chair out and face the direction of a good sea breeze, while also taking deep breaths to steady the nerves. Fresh air on your face distracts you from the motion of the ship. Plus, opening your eyes and taking in the waves and fresh air helps to align vestibular signals with vision, making you less queasy.
Look at the Horizon
To further create a congruence of your sensory cues or equalize the inputs coming into your brain from different directions, looking straight ahead at the horizon can be helpful.
Avoid looking at close-range objects like books, phones, and computers that create a mismatch between your body’s movement and the limited visual input from external sources. The horizon provides a stable point of reference, especially from the front of the boat vis-à- vis the sides.
Food and Drink
Be careful with your diet on a ship. Don’t indulge in too many greasy, sugary, spicy, and acidic foods. Opt for bland, starchy, light meals with a focus on grains, cereals, bananas, and other non-offensive foods like pretzels that are easy on your digestive system.
Avoid smoking, alcohol, and caffeinated beverages, except for Coca-Cola which has antiemetic properties. Instead, try soothing options like ginger teas/candies/ales, raw ginger, and peppermint which have calming effects, about 30 minutes before traveling.
There are acupressure wristbands available commercially that are adjustable that have raised nodes that apply pressure, particularly on the p6 Nei-Guan acupressure point.
These PSI/sea bands have been used for a long time to alleviate nausea and vomiting sensations during travel. There is no conclusive evidence as to its efficacy either way, but given that there are no side effects, you have nothing to lose by giving it a shot.
Avoid sitting or standing in direct sunlight as you will get dehydrated and overheated making the seasickness worse. Stay in the shade and avoid alcoholic drinks that dehydrate you further-hydrate with water and non-sugary drinks.
If none of these options seem to be working for you, medicines are a last resort. Consult with your doctor before the voyage and pick antihistamines that also make you drowsy, because drowsiness can lull the sensation. Options include Promethazine, Benadryl, or Dramamine.
You may also try scopolamine patches which are placed behind the ear to prevent vomiting, or the equivalent pills, both of which need a prescription.
Consult your physician before use – your doctor can guide you on dosages and safety, especially for children aged 2 years and above, pregnant women, the elderly, and those with other morbidities.
Choose your Cruise Route Wisely
When picking a cruise, choose routes on the Pacific Ocean, the Gulf of Mexico, or the Caribbean Sea which tend to be calmer as compared to the choppy waters of the Atlantic Ocean. While most sophisticated ships today have stabilization technology, it’s always better to go for larger ships.
If none of the suggested options work, don’t be alarmed or discouraged. Fortunately, in 2-3 days your body adapts to its new environment, and the seasickness resolves on its own.
Don’t feel conscious or embraced to throw up if you feel like it – many others feel sick on board too and vomiting can help reduce the sensation. And whatever you do, don’t hole up inside your room or cabin- the closed confines will make you feel even worse.
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