For many people, there's no greater thrill than getting out on the open sea in a boat. While sailing, fishing and going on cruises can be a joy for some, others suffer from sea sickness that prevents them from enjoying the same activities. Sea sickness, which is just a specific type of motion sickness, is not a dangerous condition, but it can easily become a serious hindrance in an individual's life, especially if he or she wishes to travel. Have you ever wondered what exactly sea sickness is? This article will explain how this particular illness occurs and how you can prevent it.
What Causes Sea Sickness?
Many people believe that sea sickness originates in the stomach since the main symptom they feel is nausea. However, sea sickness actually stems from a disturbance in the inner ear more generally known as motion sickness. As the body experiences a type of motion that is unfamiliar (such as the swaying back and forth in a boat), the inner ear begins sending signals to the brain that don't match up with other signals it is receiving.
For example, your eye, muscle and skin receptors tell your brain that you are standing or sitting still, but your inner ears send signals that you are in motion. This imbalance confuses the brain and causes the many unpleasant symptoms associated with sea sickness. The more the boat sways and moves around, the more your equilibrium can be thrown off by these signals and the worse that your sea sickness may get.
Symptoms of Sea Sickness
Sea sickness is often recognizable by many symptoms. If you notice that you are experiencing any of the following symptoms while on a boat, you are likely experiencing this particular type of motion sickness:
Sea Sickness Remedies
There are several different remedies for sea sickness available. In some cases, what works for one person may not work for another, so consider trying different remedies. It's also very helpful to try to prevent sea sickness before it starts. If you know you are prone to motion sickness, try taking some of the steps listed below before you get on a boat.
- Positioning: One of the most effective ways to treat or prevent sea sickness is to place yourself in a certain area of the boat. Many people find that sitting on the deck of a boat helps because, in addition to getting fresh air that helps with nausea, you can also focus your eyes on the horizon to give you a better sense of balance. Always be sure to face in the direction that the boat is moving; facing backwards or sideways may worsen your symptoms.
- Pressure Points: Some people believe that placing pressure on certain strategic areas of the body is useful for lessening the symptoms associated with sea sickness. For example, there are bands that can be worn on the wrist which are marketed towards those who are prone to motion sickness. Though there are no conclusive studies on the effectiveness of these bands, some people find that they do help.
- Eat Right: Consuming greasy or spicy foods may make sea sickness worse since they may not sit well with you before your travel begins. Also, avoid alcohol as this may make your sense of imbalance more pronounced. Instead, try eating crackers or drinking ginger ale, which many people find is useful for lessening the feeling of nausea.
- Avoid Certain Activities: In addition to drinking and eating the right things, there are a few more things that you can do to prevent or treat sea sickness. For instance, smoking or hanging out near smokers can worsen your symptoms, so avoid doing these things while on a boat. Additionally, you should try to stay away from other people who are experiencing motion sickness since hearing people talk about getting sick or actually seeing someone sick can make you feel worse. Finally, avoid reading as this can further confuse your senses as to whether you are moving or sitting still.
- Over-the-Counter Drugs: Medicines like Dramamine and Bonine are made to help lessen the symptoms of sea sickness. However, these medicines should be taken at least 30 to 60 minutes before you travel and they may make you very drowsy as a side effect. Some of these medications are delivered by pill and others through a patch.
- Prescription Drugs: If you experience very severe sea sickness and must travel by boat, you may want to ask your doctor for a prescription strength medication for this condition. These may also come in pill or in patch form.
If you have any concerns about motion sickness or are interested in getting prescription medications to prevent this condition, talk to your doctor before traveling.