From a long-awaited cruise, to just an afternoon on the water, nothing can put a crimp in your plans more effectively than a bout of seasickness. Seasickness, or more correctly motion sickness, has its root cause in your inner ear. When sitting in a boat and looking at your friends, watching TV or whatever, your eyes tell your brain that you are not moving. However, your sense of balance, which is located in your inner ear, is telling your brain a different story. These crossed signals start you down the road to seasickness.
To avoid becoming seasick, here are some tips from seafaring folk throughout the ages.
- Get some sleep. Prior to your voyage, get at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep the night before. A tired brain has a more difficult time sorting out the conflicting signals its receiving.
- Stand in a place where you can see the horizon. Being able to see the horizon helps to straighten out the signals going to your brain. If your inner ear and your eyes both tell your brain that you are moving you can reduce, or even eliminate seasickness.
- If you can, stand don’t sit. When standing you can use your legs to compensate for some of the motion. When sitting, you are just along for the ride.
- Get fresh air and stay cool. Being overly warm tends to exacerbate many of the symptoms associated with seasickness. The same can be said for stagnant air.
- Avoid eating fatty foods. That greasy lump in your stomach is just asking to give you nausea. Stick with bland white foods such as saltines, white bread and rice. This being said, however, there are some old salts that will tell you a double bacon cheeseburger is the ticket to stave off the seasickness. You might have to experiment with that one.
- Also, avoid high-fiber meals. The tendency for fiber to cause excess gas and put pressure on your stomach is not a thing you want.
- Don’t eat acidic foods or drink alcohol. Any high acid food or drinks such as tomatoes, orange juice or coffee are just begging to come back up. The same goes for booze. In all honesty, a drink or two can settle your stomach for now, but you will pay later.
- Have something in your stomach. With everything not to eat, you still need to eat something. A little bland food may help to keep your nausea in check. In addition, if you must offer up the contents of your stomach to Neptune (vomit), it is much better to have something to work with.
- Use ginger liberally. For years, many mothers have given their children ginger ale when they had the flu or an upset stomach. Well, the moms got it right! Ginger is a sailors a best friend. Consider bringing along ginger ale, ginger cookies or even gingerbread. A simpler solution is to slice a small handful of fresh ginger and steep it in hot water for 4 to 5 minutes, and then enjoy your ginger tea.
- Over the counter medications are effective. If you can avoid them, however, it is a good idea. These medications do have side-effects such as drowsiness.
On the plus side, for the vast majority of people, seasickness doesn’t last forever. It could be for just a few hours or at most a couple of days. Don’t feel embarrassed if you get seasick. Everyone, even the most hardened mariner, gets about of seasickness now and again. Simply plan for the possibility, and use some of these tips to stave off the symptoms.