Susceptibillity to Sea Sickness with age? - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 27 Old 09-28-2012 Thread Starter
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Susceptibillity to Sea Sickness with age?

While reading another thread regarding crew on offshore passages there was quite a bit of discussion about sea sickness. Up untill a couple of years ago I had not vomited in over 35 years, I had only thrown up 3 times in my life, Once from spaghetti, once while fishing offshore and once from being drunk. After 30 years or so I began to think that if I ever threw up again it would mean that death was imminent but I was wrong. Not long ago I apparently got some kind of bug and surpassed my previous record in one night without dying. Up untill that time I had thought that I would never get sea sick again but now I am begining to wonder? Any thoughts? Anyone else get any surprizes? I think there was a case where a seasoned sailor had such a vilolent attack that it caused a tear in his esophagus ( maybe the tear was what brought on the sea sickness )the trip from LA to Hawai that he was part of was aborted and the boat abandoned.
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post #2 of 27 Old 09-28-2012
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Re: Susceptibillity to Sea Sickness with age?

How can I not respond to such a vomitous topic? I feel like the older I get the less prone to seasickness I'm getting. But I think that there may be two explanations... when I was a child I was stuffed into the back of stationwagons and behind bulkheads. Now that I'm older I'm usually driving or piloting from the helm. I also think that when you are older you know to avoid looking down and to keep your head up to the horizon. I think it never completely leaves you.

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post #3 of 27 Old 09-28-2012
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Re: Susceptibillity to Sea Sickness with age?

During my four-year stint in the United States Navy I was sick nearly every time the ship left the dock and hit the open ocean. The ship, the U.S.S. Newport News, CA-148 was a heavy cruiser that was 762 feet long and had a crew of about 1,400. After four years of nausea I decided this was not the lifestyle I wished to be accustomed to, left the service, went to work in a number of different industries, spent 15 years working in cardio-pulmonary medicine, then purchased a boat.

Well, 50 years and 18 boats later I have not been seasick since. It seems as if when I climb aboard a boat under 75 feet in length, seasickness is never a problem. I've been 70 miles offshore in a 21-foot, center console fishing boat in 8-foot seas and never felt queasy. I really don't believe age has anything to do with it, it's just the motion that some folks never seem to adjust to.

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post #4 of 27 Old 09-29-2012
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Re: Susceptibillity to Sea Sickness with age?

I think age can work for or against.

First, I think that nerves are among the number one cause of seasickness. It's clearly precipitated by a conflict in signals from your inner ear and eyes, but whether it runs away has a lot to do with how calm or confident you are. As you age, or more specifically get closer to having seen it all, you are less likely to be shaken. IMO.

Secondly, however, one's sense of balance is degraded with age. I actually consider sailing to be one of the best ways to help maintain balance skills as you age, unless you only go out very infrequently. I surmise that degraded balance contributes to the conflict between the inner ear and eyes. Further, it would increase your anxiety level as the boat is being tossed, if you're having a harder time keep your feet under you.


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post #5 of 27 Old 09-29-2012
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Re: Susceptibillity to Sea Sickness with age?

...seems as if, with all due respect, the older generation is more prone to sailing requirements-we, the younger generation have to undergo the whole process of getting used to this shaky world.
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post #6 of 27 Old 09-29-2012
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Re: Susceptibillity to Sea Sickness with age?

My understanding is that seasickness is caused by the fact that the eyes are sending one message and the inner ear a different one and that problem results in seasickness. As we age the ear gets less sensitive and therefore there are fewer conflicts between the two messages and people are less subject to seasickness. I have seldom experienced seasickness, though I emphasize seldom, but seem to be less subject to it now that I'm old.

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post #7 of 27 Old 09-29-2012
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Re: Susceptibillity to Sea Sickness with age?

Age only increases the 'threshold' at where mal de mer occurs ... ie.: there will always be a higher threshold that at which seasickness will occur ... and you will then experience the sensation of a hairy ring 'coming up' your esophagus; and, if you dont 'swallow quickly' you will risk 'turning completely inside out'.

Stugeron and ginger root, just in case !!!!!!! .... and in the worst case scenario there are prescription 'suppositories'. Dehydration that leads to metabolic shock and diminished 'life functions' is the worst case - keep 'hydrated' at all costs.
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post #8 of 27 Old 09-29-2012 Thread Starter
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Re: Susceptibillity to Sea Sickness with age?

After reading about Panda, a Catalina 36 that was abandoned off the coast of Califorinia and my recent experience with nausea I began to seriously re-evaluate my plans for an extended shothanded offshore passage. If I were to be that sick again I do not believe that I could reliably manage the boat. I guess that will just be another risk that I hadn't previously considered that will need to be addressed. I'll take plenty of suppositories... can't handle ginger root unless it's turned into ginger snaps.
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Re: Susceptibillity to Sea Sickness with age?

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....in the worst case scenario there are prescription 'suppositories'.....
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....I'll take plenty of suppositories......
Folks, when I have to resort to sticking things in my keister in order to go sailing, I think it will be time to call the game.


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post #10 of 27 Old 09-30-2012 Thread Starter
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Re: Susceptibillity to Sea Sickness with age?

Well by all means lets not be prepared for the worst case scenario, after all we all know that Mr. Murphy never visits anyone on an offshore passage, old sailors never die and politicans never lie!
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