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post #57 of Old 02-16-2013
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Re: Seasick medication

We have used a wide variety of products. I do not pretend to be the expert on them, but I will give you my experience over the last eighteen years.

A good basic product (especially for kids) is perpermint. Yes, just like you buy at the grocery store. We keep it aboard and the kids have it in their mouth anytime we are making a long run or in weather. It is cheap and works "ok".

Next up is ginger. You can buy it from nutritional stores in large doses (milligrams). You can also buy ginger beer (it is non-alcoholic) from many nutritional stores which has a high content of ginger. Ginger Ale (Canada Dry) seems to have a very low mg. However, carbonation does seem to help us. You can also get a high concentration ginger ale as I recall, but not at the grocery stores. One easy trick is to bake ginger snaps and keep them easily accessibe. I will say that ginger is not completely without its side effects: it gives me the burps so bad I often don't bother with it. However, it too is safe for kids. We gave up long ago on carrying the ginger beer because of space and instead carry the ginger pills (and Canada Dry, but for drinks, not medicinal). The Ginger product we use is Spring Valley 550 mg Ginger Root.

We have used several of the OTC meds in the past and gave up on them as not being very effective and still making us sleepy.

Next up is Scoplamine. I have read through many of the comments about it on this thread and we quite surprised. I have never had that nor have I ever witnessed it. I am not discounting what others have said, but giving my experience over the last 18 years of boating. Quite candidly, Scope patches are our drug of choice (for adults). The issue with Scope that is a big negative for us is that you cannot make out writing or things through binocs. Forget trying to read... especially small print. I think that is part of how it works - by screwing up te signals between your eyes and brain and ears. It does make you a bit tired, but nothing like other meds we have taken. Another negative of scope is you have to put it on BEFORE you leave. It takes quite a while before really working for us (12 hours, though we generally start it the day before a passage). As such, it is not good for when you are sick, but rather a preventative beforehand. Another negative of this product is that I do not believe it can be used for children. I assume that has not changed anyways.

Next is Promethazine (Phenegran). It works pretty well and can be taken after getting sick, though honestly it is better to take before getting sick. We keep an eye out for the signs of sea sickness which are generally easy to spot (can discuss that below). We have carried both the pills and the suppository. Be aware, as the suppository was mentioned in this thread, it requires refrigeration. Personally, I would highly prefer that to trying to use an IV because it would seem to me that would be really hard to put in when the boat is rolling in large seas. If you get the pills, consider getting them in 12.5 mg. That is a "kids" dose. THe adult dose is 1-2 25mg pills. If you take two of them (25 mg), be ready to lose a lot of your cognitive ability. You will be tired and slow to react and may blur your vision. By messing around with lower doses (12.5 mg), you may find a lower dose that works for you. DO be aware that if you puke it up, you will have to wait until the next dose which I think is 6 hours.

The reality is that once someone gets sick, the key is to keep them hydrated. You have pretty much lost them to be any help for a while. We keep gatorade bottles easily available in the cockpit. Also, I would suggest keeping a 5 gallon bucket in the cockpit because it keeps someone from wanting to lean over the side of the boat to puke (dangerous). You can throw a bunch of paper towels in there with it and on top to help reduce others from sympathetic puking. We keep a line tied to it that we can toss over to fill (rinse). Good breezes and letting someone steer or put their face in the wind really helps us.

Regarding the original posters question about the Sturgeon, we did not find it any more effective than phenegran. However, everyones body is different. It is a pretty comon drug for cruisers, though we don't carry it.

My opinions. I am NOT a physician, so I do not want anyone to take this advice for themselves. It is simply our experiences as long-time users and boaters.


PS Signs of sea sickness should be discussed with the crew beforehand. They are being lathargic, cold sweating, and watering mouth. THe biggest one is probably being lathargic and always seem to kick in first. THis is the best time to stop someone from getting sick as once they puke or are close to, it is harder to stop the whole sea sick cycle (not just puking, incidentally, but a cycle of lethargy often including puking and sometimes diarhea which becomes harder to stop). So keep an eye out for each other and when someone is showing some signs, have them move around and trim sheets, steer, face in wind, pepperint or ginger snaps, etc. If that doesn't help, pull out the phenegran and repeat the above. Keeping them moving is key as is hydration. We consider sea sickness a very serious, and often under realized, danger in boating. As a best friend and life long sailor once told me: Everyone (EVERYONE) gets sea sick. We all just have different thresholds.

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Last edited by Cruisingdad; 02-16-2013 at 03:48 PM.
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