What is it and how do I treat it?

Mediterranean-Cruise-SeasicknessWhat is seasickness? Simply stated it is motion sickness while on board a boat or ship. What causes it? Seasickness is basically your inner ear’s inability to adjust for the unfamiliar motion of the ship. Your brain sees walls, floors and ceilings and knows that they should be stationary, yet because the brain now sees them moving, it gets confused, the inner ear can’t compensate and nausea sets in.

About 90% of people get some form of motion sickness throughout their lifetime. People who suffer from other forms of motion sickness such as from cars, carnival rides, airplanes and other types, may find that they are more prone to seasickness. Also, it should be noted that getting seasick on a small boat does not mean you will get seasick on a larger vessel. The motion and movement is different and may not affect a person the same way.

Seasickness will normally go away after a day or two as the brain finally adjusts to the motion of the sea. There are a few ways to help prevent seasickness, though not all of them work for everyone. First, try not to stare at objects that the brain sees as stationary. This will only amplify the confusion for your brain. Another tip is to stay above deck and in fresh air whenever possible. Avoid using binoculars, as they will also increase the effect of the motion and movement as you look though them.

So, now we know what causes seasickness, how to avoid it if possible, and who is prone to it. What if you find yourself with it? How is it treated? There are many remedies out there, but medications taken before the onset of symptoms are reportedly the best treatment at this time.

The most common medications are Scopolamine, Dramamine and Bonine. While Dramamine and Bonine are over the counter medications and can be purchased in most drug stores or pharmacies, Scopolamine remains available only as a prescription. Scopolamine is sold as a small patch typically worn behind the ear or in pill form and is by far the most effective preventative for people who suffer from most forms of motion sickness.

If you are looking for a natural remedy, Ginger is reported to help with the nausea associated with seasickness, although not as effectively as the medications. Ginger is typically taken in a pill or capsule form and can be purchased at most health food stores.

Another method sometimes used is acupressure bracelets. They are worn on the wrist, about a half inch up from the hand, to apply pressure at a specific point. Many people swear by these and many of them are sold every year. These are also available at most pharmacies and drug stores.

If you are prone to motion sickness, or are just concerned and planning to head out on a cruise ship or other vessel, check with your doctor or try one of the many over the counter remedies available. Although not everyone suffers from seasickness, being prepared if you do can make your trip much more enjoyable.