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Tucks 03-25-2007 11:24 AM

Sea Sickness - Cure?
I've received many great pieces of advice here on Sailnet so I'm going to try my luck again. I have not gotten seasick yet but I do get car sick in a major way. In fact I ride a scooter because of carsick problems. I'm afraid sea sick is just around the corner. I've researched some remedies online but what do sailors recommend? I've been hearing about a product called Motioneaze. Does this really work? I did get just a bit queasy during my last race and really don't want to end up heaving over the high side, if you get my drift. Any help will be greatly appreciated.



rexy 03-25-2007 11:34 AM

barf at the lee side

there are some medications to help with sea sickness, but some have some side effects as well. like seeing fairy's off the port bow. something about it here:

We have some prescription medicine called Scopolomine, which you apply by putting a patch behind your ear. It's reputed to be very effective, with just a few side effects. Like hallucinations.

sailingdog 03-25-2007 11:39 AM

I've never used Motionease but hear it works fairly well.

Other tried and true remedies are ginger, which comes in gum, candy, cookies, or in several different types of soda; the accupressure bands that press on the pressure point near your wrists; dramamine, although a lot of people complain it makes them sleepy...

Also, increasing your intake of B-vitamins can help prevent it.. so start taking vitamin supplements... Eating a protein rich meal can also help prevent it... avoid greasy foods too...

There are also prescription remedies, like scopolamine, phenergran, Zofran... etc.

Generally, you need to take the meds well in advance of getting on the boat... at least a few hours, so that it can take effect. It is harder to stop motion sickness once it has started, than it is to prevent it as a general rule. Avoiding strong smells will help reduce the problem.

Also, sitting upright in the cockpit and watching the horizon will help—don't let your head or eyes roll around... that makes it worse.

If you can do something a bit more active, like steering the boat, that will also often help reduce the severity or prevent it altogether. Staying warm will help too—so dress in layers and wear good foul weather gear, and a hat if necessary.

The worst possible thing to do is go down below and sit. If you're cold and need to go down below... lie down... it will be better than sitting belowdecks...

Finally, as rexy said... puke the lee side... getting it on the boat and your fellow crew is not a good thing...

Idiens 03-25-2007 12:29 PM

There are a lot of individual differences in reactions. Watch for your own warning signs. Usually its yawning, feeling suddenly hot or cold, feeling tired. You may have to experiment. Write down everything you eat and drink and try to correlate it with feeling sick afterwards. What you ate and drank before hand can make a big difference. Coffee, for me is just not on, I find hot-chocolate a stabilising substitute, for example.
If you can get on the helm, its great. Standing is better than sitting, the body is used to balancing on its feet more than on its backside. Looking off the boat towards the ever steady horizon really helps (standing helps see it too). Having you nose high in the wind avoids unfresh smells. Then the concentration of helming the boat takes the mind off the feelings.
Anyone feeling sick on my boat is straight on the helm.
After you have been sick, there is usually a short respite - take another pill with water - a little of it will stay in. (I got that tip off the packet).
If you are cold and/or wet, do go below and lie down, (like SD said, don't sit or stand), preferably on the boards right over the keel. Take a bucket with you.
Is there a cure? - If you find a real one, it would be worth millions.:)

sailingdog 03-25-2007 12:43 PM

LOL... idiens- Good advice about the bucket... makes cleanup a lot simpler.

Some foods to take with you to help deal with it... plain saltine type crackers, peppermint gum or candies, ginger snap cookies (the good ones that actually have ginger as an ingredient please), as these will help settle your stomach and can make the difference between keeping it together or hanging over the leeward rails...

hellosailor 03-25-2007 05:33 PM

MotionEase? Is that the herbal stuff you put behind your ear?

I ask because, pun intended, seasickness is all in your head. If I wanted a real cure I'd have to have my inner ears surgically removed. In the meantime, you need to try two things: Drugs, and getting used to it.

Cars, boats, planes, all the same, babies and puppies routinely puke the first few times until the get used to the motions. I still can't read in a car for any length of time and that's about true belowdecks on a boat as well.

But every time you go for a ride (in the car or boat) your system gets de- sensitized a bit and most folks quickly get used to it. It helps if you have had a good night's sleep, no booze no smoking (or smoke around you) for 24 hours, no real greasy foods onboard or right before, and if you keep your eyes on the horizon as a reference point. Fresh air, not being dehydrated, and not being excessively hot also help.

Then there's drugs. If MotionEase is that herbal stuff ot put behind your ear...good luck but I think you're wasting your money, I know I did. Their shipping charges guarantee them a profit regardless of the refund for the product itself--and yes I sent mine back. It only attracts bugs and bees, didn't help me at all.

Relief bands (that press the ne-kwan accupressure point) or the electric releif band (very good) work nicely. Also taking ginger (buy the supermarket spice and 100 empty capsules from your pharmacy, it's much cheaper than buying them pre-made) or food with lots of ginger in it helps. Ginger opens up the capillaries, that increases oxygenation in the body and brain, and that's a real help for as many people as ay other meds are.

Bonine, Meclazine, and other otc drugs all help some people, and don't help others. You may want to buy two or three and try them (on separate days<G>) on land, to see if any make you sleepy or fuzzy-headed. There's no one magic answer, you need to try several to see what works for you.

On stronger drugs, there's sturgeron (otc in the UK, not available in the US) and scopalamine (patches and pills) by Rx only in the US. And a number of other drugs, all by Rx. The good news is, even if you need somethign the first time out, after a couple of trips your body gets used to it and you can wean off the drugs. Or, find drugs that work for you.

And in the worst case...You can take up motorcross instead.<G> There's no one easy or complete answer, take charge, and do what works for you.

tomaz_423 03-25-2007 05:43 PM

There is an old recipe against motion sickness:
Brace a big 200 years old oak tree with both hands :-)))
In fact any tree will do, as long it is hard on the ground.

OK, to be more serious:
To me and my wife ginger works, but we are not usually sea sick.
Ginger does not work for all people.

Once I did have some problems. I was disassembling and reassembling the clogged toilett underway. Big swells, being down below, bad smell and being bent over in an uneasy possition almost had me "use" that tiolet before it was fixed. :-)
A method I use when I am inside (and it helps me a lot) is to close my eyes for a few seconds. This brings short term relieve, so you can continue wour work below. But then I need to go out on fresh air.

What we usualy have on board is Dramina, but it knocks people down.
So we usually have half of the crew being "passangers", sleeping a lot.

I only sailed short distance sailing (up to 60 or 80 n. miles in one passage), just a few overnight - so I yet have to discover what it looks like when things are really bad - and for a long time...
Hope ginger will help then.

So things which worked for us (not to all and not always):
- Get behind the steering wheel and handstear the boat - rated number one remedy.
- Do not go down, stay on fresh breeze and look at the horizon. If you do not feel good and feel a bit cold: ask for more cloths to be brought to you, do not be a hero and go below to take it. Dress more immidiately when you feel cold, not when you are already blue and all stiff and sick. A real hero for me is the one who admit he is not feeling good, not the one suffering until it is too late.
In most cases I have seen: when it gets you there is no way out (except to the oak tree).

orthomartin 03-25-2007 06:08 PM

time on task
As a long time sailor, retired F-16 pilot (lots of motion), and physician I can tell you the only thing that works long term is time on board. For the occasional sailor for short cruises the Rx meds/patches can work pretty well. Spending time with the motion is the only way to get your brain to start over-ridding your inner ear. If (when) you do get sick if at all possible try to stay on the boat after you reach the dock, overnight if possible. Even those people very prone to sea sickness adjust with time. Sorry there is no easier way but all the meds are useful only short term and all have side affects (dry mouth, visual changes, etc.). Bottom line, sail, sail, sail

sailingdog 03-25-2007 06:48 PM

BTW, most people adjust to the motion of the boat in 24-72 hours of being on-board. If you're planning on going on a longer cruise, it may well be worth staying aboard, even at the dock or mooring, for a day or two prior to leaving, just to allow your body to adjust/acclimatize itself.

As a word of warning, if you've been on a boat for a significant period of time, returning to dry land can also result is something much like seasickness, as your body adjusts to being on a non-moving surface. Usually takes about two weeks of being on-board continuously before this happens, but it isn't all that unusual.

Insails 03-25-2007 09:24 PM

As a word of warning, if you've been on a boat for a significant period of time, returning to dry land can also result is something much like seasickness, as your body adjusts to being on a non-moving surface. Usually takes about two weeks of being on-board continuously before this happens, but it isn't all that unusual.

Never have been seasick, some seem to be immune to it..but I have missed many a step or curb upon returning from time at sea:)..No officer I am not drunk...LOL

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