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Conquer Sea Sickness on your next cruise

I was that kid who always got car sick; I couldn’t ride the Spinnaker at Six Flags; and God forbid I set foot on a boat. My first (and possibly last) cruise experience left me with a queasy shade of green and a rather painful shot in the bum, while my traveling cohorts claimed that they “couldn’t even feel the boat moving.”

Motion sickness is one of those things that pounces on you when you’re least expecting it, so the best thing to do is plan ahead. Here are a few tips from the July 2008 issue of ShopSmart, from the publisher of Consumer Reports:

First, try these…
Ginger and Wristbands: Although far from proven, these are safe and worth a shot, especially for mild symptoms. Ginger root, typically sold in candies and capsules, has the most supporting evidence. Occasional use of up to 250 milligrams four times a day is considered safe for most people, including women who might be pregnant. Bracelets such as Sea-Bands, found at drugstores, stimulate acupressure points on the wrist and have been shown to combat nausea in some situations. The evidence that they work against motion sickness is mixed. However, they’re safe and can be used along with other remedies.

Next, try this…
Antihistamines: Older over-the-counter antihistamines such as dimenhydrinate (Dramamine) and diphenhydramine (Benadryl) have been proven to counteract motion sickness and are approved by the Food and Drug Administration for use by children older than 2. The catch is that they take 30 minutes to an hour to kick in, and they can leave you feeling drowsy or light-headed. Newer, non-sedating over-the-counter antihistamines such as loratadine (Claritin) and cetirizine (Zyrtec p) might relieve allergy symptoms but don’t appear to quell a queasy stomach.

If all else fails…
Prescription Drugs: Promethazine (Phenergan) is another antihistamine effective at relieving nausea, but it might make you sleepy. Another choice is prescription strength meclizine (Antivert), although it, too, may cause drowsiness. A scopolamine patch (Transderm-Scop) is also very effective, but side effects including blurred vision and severe drowsiness make it a treatment of last resort. Some patients also report a rebound effect, including nausea, dizziness, and headaches when they remove the patch.

How to nip that queasy feeling in the bud:

  • Eat stomach-soothing foods. Have a light meal about 3 hours before setting out. Avoid dairy products and foods that are high in protein or sodium. A light breakfast of an orange, for example, may stay down better than bacon and eggs. If motion sickness strikes, munch on crackers and take small sips of a carbonated drink or fruit juice. Chew on ginger candies or pop a ginger supplement. Chamomile and peppermint are also used to quell stomach upset.
  • Get the best seat. Pick the spot least affected by motion—up front in a car, over a wing on a plane, or midship on a boat deck.
  • Avoid nausea triggers. These include alcohol, cigarette smoke, and pungent odors. The power of suggestion is strong, so if possible, stay far away from other sick passengers.
  • Focus your mind. If you can, lean into your headrest to minimize movement and focus on the horizon or a distant object. Don’t read or watch movies. If you’re queasy, close your eyes and recline until the feeling passes.
  • Get some air. Crack a window, turn on a vent, or step out on a ship’s deck to get some soothing fresh air.

Photo Courtesy of IgoUgo member manumombo.

Jennifer

My name: Jennifer Gaines, but my friends call me Gaines, Jenni-Dallas or just plain Jenn.

(Find me on Twitter @jenngaines)

Travel ambitions: It's my mission to visit each of the New 7 Wonders and to step foot on every continent before my next milestone birthday.

Greatest travel lesson learned: Find the local hangouts to experience the real, true culture of a place. During a trip to Europe, my friends and I spent several days with a French family in the small town of Vichy. We had a private party in their family-run creperie, feasting on cheese-stuffed crepes and sampling wine that we picked up in the Bordeaux region a few days earlier. Their English wasn’t much better than my French, which is limited to a few well-known phrases from Moulin Rouge and the question: Parlez-vous anglais? (I'm proud to say that I can spout this question off in several different languages, and luckily most Europeans do indeed speak English!) After a few bottles of wine, the language barrier was hardly noticeable (slurring actually sounds the same in French!), and we managed to swap stories about life in other places. What a slice of local flavor!

My most beloved place in the whole world is: My grandparents place in Texas. It’s a 10-acre oasis in between two sprawling cities: Dallas and Fort Worth. A creek runs through their enormous backyard, where Granddad built a deck over the water. The entire place is shrouded with all types of trees (mainly pecan), blocking the Texas sun in the summer. Dusk is the best time to sit on the deck, drink a glass of ice tea and watch baby raccoons from the spring litter surround their back porch as Gram feeds them bread (no lie!). There will be dozens of raccoons eating on any given night. In the fall, my family gathers in the courtyard in front of their house for an annual “weenie roast.” Granddad lights the bonfire, and we roast dogs and s'mores. Yes, y’all, we’re from Texas!

Favorite way to get around: Well, I’m not much of a driver. I get lost easily and my tires have never come across a curb they didn’t want to get to know a little better. But, I do enjoy cruising around and listening to music. That said, I much rather explore a place by foot (with my iPod in tow) for a more intimate encounter.

View that took my breath away: Coming from Texas (where the view is wide but there’s not much to see), scenes from my new home of San Francisco never fail to amaze me. The city is a pedestrian’s dream, but don’t forget to turn around and look behind you as you meander through its neighborhoods. You won’t realize it, but you’ll be at the tip-top of a hill and the ocean will suddenly seem to be at eye level. Take a drive through the Presidio and over the Golden Gate Bridge where even more stunning views await!

Comments

Anne & May
Reply

My fiance turns green just thinking about boarding a boat. My father’s only hobby is deep sea fishing. I think you can see my problem.

Thanks for posting these tips!

Atlanctic City Power Boat Show 2009
Reply

For sea sickness, take dramamine a week before and a week after.
The best cure is to get on a boat ,the more you do it the faster your body will adapt. I worked after a week an a half ,i was cured. We went through several storms and i was fine.

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