Healthy Fisherman

  • I get ‘sea sick’ and ‘motion sick‘ and ‘I fish’.  Here are a few tips that can help you as they have helped me.

Seasick
Seasickness, while not fatal, displays real symptoms, such as nausea, stomach cramps and vomiting.  Motion sickness or seasickness is thought to be caused by visual disorientation resulting from being on an ‘object in motion’ which competes against the natural inclination for balance. Some folks become seasick by ‘suggestion’ and simply convince themselves that being on a ship will make them ill.  For those who can forget about seasickness, it’s often smooth sailing.

Anchor drawing

One of the most widely recommended remedies for seasickness is “Transderm Scop”, a patch applied behind the ear at least eight hours before exposure which can be effectiveness for up to three days.  Available only by prescription, the “Scop” is ‘preventive’ for seasickness,  Transderm Patch‘but not a treatment’ for seasickness.  When seasick victims can exhibit side effects such as dry mouth, blurry vision, drowsiness and dizziness.

Over-the-counter drugs for seasickness used both to deter and/or treat seasick symptoms are Dramamine, dramamineMeclizine and Benadryl. and on some boats these are available gratus.  The most common side effect of taking Bonine and Benadryl is drowsinessBonine
 and ‘alcohol’ will exacerbate these side effects.

Editor’s note: For seasick kids, a less potent versions of both Benadryl and Bonine exist. It is strongly advised that you consult a doctor before ingesting new medications.

Physicians Can Perscribe Stronger Drugs

Stronger, more effective prescription drugs for seasickness can be prescribed by a physician. These include Promethazine and Ephedrine, which when taken together produce quick results as well as potential side effects such as sleepiness. Other options includes suppositories, administered by the ship’s physician, which work magic for some people suffering from seasickness.

Drug-Free Remedies

If you don’t like to take drugs, for seasickness natural remedies for seasickness include Ginger and Green Apples.

Green Apples
Green Apples

Some swear that by applying a

Sea Bands apply acupressure against the Nei-Kuan pressure point located on the palm side of the wrist. They curb nausea and vomiting without any side effects, comes in both adult and children's sizes and can even be used by pregnant women. located on the palm side of the wrist. They curb nausea and vomiting without any side effects. For both adult and children's sizes and can even be used by pregnant women.

Sea-Band Wristbands alleviates and or prevents seasickness:  Put them on the minute you embark. They are an easy-to-wear, acupressure-inspired product which prevents seasickness, uses plastic beads that press against the Nei-Kuan pressure point located on the palm side of the wrist to alleviate and prevent seasickness. They curb nausea and vomiting without any side effects, come in both adult and children’s sizes and can even be used by pregnant women. Sea-Bands are available without a prescription at major drug stores.

Ginger… studies have found it alleviates nausea from seasickness / motion sickness. The root can be taken in various forms, including powder, tea, pill and candy.  Some swear that eating ‘green apples’ help with nausea associated with seasickness.

A Few More ‘Seasickness’ Tips

To acclimate yourself to shipboard life and avoid seasickness, it’s advisable to spend as much time as possible out on deck, using the horizon as a point to maintain your equilibrium.

Booking an outside cabin in the middle of the ship may also help you to avoid seasickness — the natural balance point, is another option to help you to avoid seasickness.  Having a window will also give you a consistent view of the horizon point (unless you find yourself in stormy waters, the sea splashing against your window).

Stabilizers provide the smoothest ride possible.

Top Tips To Avoid Seasickness.

1 Seasick Remedies are highly individual. Some people should simply sleep; others cannot bear going below. The effectiveness of seasick medications varies. “Stugeron” to treat seasickness, cannot be purchased in the United States, gets a lot of votes, but may knock you flat, so experiment ashore. 

Two seasick

2 How will you vomit when seasick? Leaning over the side can be dangerous. But, so can rinsing a bucket on the end of a line. We give our children beach buckets, which are cheap and flexible. Some people recommend biodegradable dog-poop bags.

3 Don’t start a passage with a hangover. In fact, don’t drink alcohol for two days before you cast off!!!

4 Keep munching, ‘especially’ when you think you are seasick and can’t. Try dry crackers, plain fruits and raw vegetables. Chew more carefully and eat more slowly than you would on land.

crackers & vegetables5 Everyone knows it’s better outside than below. But at some point you need to get inside to catch a break from the sun and wind. The cabin sole has the least motion of all—put some cushions down and get cozy.

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Know your knots – free tutorials.  

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6 Watch carefully for dehydration, especially with children who are seasick. However when seasick, replace lost fluids.

7 There may be a psychological component to seasickness, in which case it’s best to muddle through. Keep performing your duties and try to distract yourself.

8 Don’t feel guilty! Even famous sailors get seasick. Lord Nelson did. And remember: there is an end!

9 Relief Band Explorer, worn like a bracelet or a watch, the ReliefBand prevents seasicknessReliefBanduses gentle electrical signals to stimulate a specific nerve in the underside of the wrist. There are five levels of stimulation; adjust the dial to the highest level that feels comfortable. By stimulating the body’s nervous system in this fashion, the ReliefBand can be used to relieve seasickness, nausea and vomiting symptoms associated with motion sickness.

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Captain John Konrad says... "Fool Yourself – Believe it or not (your choice) but 99% of seasickness is mental."

I discovered ‘excellent’ advice on ‘seasickness’ from Captain John Konrad, founder and CEO of “gCaptain” and author of the book “Fire On The Horizon”.  John is a USCG licensed “Master of Unlimited Tonnage” and has sailed a variety of ships from ports around the world.

1. Fool Yourself – Believe it or not (your choice) but 99% of seasickness is mental. Even the most stalwart mariner begins to feel queazy at times… but quickly solves the problem by telling themselves “I don’t get seasick!”. Repeat it 3 times in the mirror before departure. And make sure you say it with conviction!!

2. Look at the Horizon – When a ship is riding to a heavy sea everything is moving. The only thing that is stationary is the horizon and looking at it will often  reset your internal equilibrium.

3. Follow your nose – noseMotion sickness is often caused by bad smells. Even pleasant smells, like a girlfriend’s perfume, can often send you for the railings. So if you smell anything strange, move into fresh air fast. And be sure to keep your living area clean… a dirty room or body is a quick way to invite odor.

4. Other people – One sure-fire way to get seasick is to watch other people getting sick. Like a schoolyard cold, motion sickness is very contagious. Avoid other seasick people at all cost.

5. Watch what you eat – One of the reasons people get seasick on ships is that they over-eat. When the waves hit, greasy, high-fat foods swirl around your stomach like water in the head. Also avoid sugar which can make you light-headed and dizzy.

6. Chew gum and eat sweets – Hey didn’t I just say to avoid sugar?

Sugar free gum.
Sugar-free gum.

Yes but some people swear by it, others think just the repetitive motion of chewing helps and is most effective with sugar-free gum because it helps relieve symptoms.

7. No booze – Alcohol can make you sea-sick on dry land, the effects are worse in open ocean so avoid drinking at all costs.

8. Eat Only Saltines – An old sailors myth is, when the seas get rough, eat only saltines.

Saltines - try them to treat and or to prevent seasickness.
Saltines – try them to treat and or prevent seasickness.

Personally I think a full and healthy diet helps prevent seasickness. but others swear by eating just saltines.

9. Drink Only Lime Juice – 

Lime juice.
Lime juice.

Like the saltines, some old salts swear by drinking only lime juice in a storm, claiming it helps contract your stomach. Some think this is bogus, but if you are going to try it, be sure to avoid all dairy, because the mixture of lime and cheese might be a great flavor for a dorito but, in real life, the combination creates curds in your stomach.  Ouch!

10. Ginger

Ginger: Chew on a slice when you're at sea... it really works.
Ginger really works.

Whether you chew it, suck on it or dilute it in tea, ginger has long been a favorite home remedy for motion sickness. Give it a try and, if you ‘believe’ it works (see rule #1) most probably it will!

11. Carrot juice, apricot juice, citrus, prunes, mints, black horehound, parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme….

Fresh fruit anf vegtable juices can relieve seasick symptoms.
Fresh squeezed fruit and vegetable juices can often relieve seasick symptoms.

there are a 101 plants that are reported to help cure seasickness. We can only suggest you try them in small amounts.

12. Aroma-therapy – get a fine mist sprayer and fill it with distilled water, lemon oil, cedar wood oil, dill oil, lavender oil, and a few drops of spearmint. Then spray it lightly on your face.

13. Over The Counter Drugs – Dramamine and Bonine are the two most common seasickness remedies. These are available over-the-counter at most drug stores and contain antihistamines which makes some people drowsy so, if your at sea to work, make sure to look for the non-drowsy versions.

14. Ambien – One cure for motion sickness is to sleep through it but getting to sleep is hard when you feel miserable. Ambien will knock you out no matter what your state is. Just be sure to take it well before you start vomiting (medicine needs to be in you to feel better). And, if you can’t get a prescription for it, try it’s over-the-counter relative Benadryl, another antihistamine which will knock you out! Warning; These drugs are powerful so don’t expect the ship’s alarm to wake you if she starts to sink!

15. Wrist Bands –

Seaworthy relief. "I can vouch for the wristbands with the pressure point 'buttons', as in the mid-1980s, my wife and I joined an
Seaworthy relief:  I can vouch for the effectiveness of wristbands with pressure point ‘buttons’.” Simply place buttons on the underside of the arm, about an inch and a half above your wrist.

16. Acupuncture:  If the band doesn’t work you can try actual acupuncture needles but, be warned, sharp objects and moving ships are not a safe combination.

 17. The Patch – Scopolamine patches are worn behind the ear and look like  small band-aids but contain small amounts of medicine which secretes into you skin. They are the most popular prescription drug for seasickness and they also come in pill form. The great thing about the patch is that it continues working even after you start to throw-up. But, be warned, prolonged use of the patch – for weeks at a time – can lead to hallucinations!

18. Kid’s Medicine – If Dramamine and Scopolamine leave you with bad side effects then try Stugeron (the brand name for cinnarizine) which reportedly works even after you have started feeling dizzy.

19. Change Heading – Sometimes a ship will get into a harmonic rhythm which drives certain people crazy. This is easily fixed by either changing the ship’s course or speed…. that is, if the captain lets you!

20. Don’t get pregnant – Many women are fine aboard ships in all weather conditions…. that is until they have their first child. So if you are female and plan on taking a world cruise be sure to do it before you have children. The worst part – sea-sickness has been the cause of many pregnancies by women who unknowingly threw-up their birth control pills.

21. Close your eyes – Many doctors believe that seasickness is actually your brain getting confused by too many mixed signals. So start to shut these signals down by removing smells, tastes hearing and vision. For the last two earplugs and eye patches may help.

22. Ask an astronaut – “NASA” has done extensive research on the causes and treatments for motion sickness.

LCD glasses
LCD glasses

One tested  treatment is to wear special LCD shutter glasses that create a stroboscopic vision of 4 Hz with a dwell of 10 milliseconds.

23. Autogenic-Feedback Training Exercise – AFTE is a six-hour training program developed by NASA which is reportedly an  effective method for enabling people to control voluntarily several of their own physiological responses to a variety of environmental stressors. Not sure what that means? Neither am I but I’m sure google can help.

24. Avoid Books and Computer Screens – Reading, whether on a device or paper, is a sure-fire way to get you sea-sick. But if you must be sure to read small portions at a time with frequent breaks to look up towards the horizon. If using a computer try a program that reads the text out-loud to avoid fixing your eyes on the screen.

25. Buy a program – With names like “The Puma Method” and “Nevasic” a mixture of doctors and hacks offer their training programs for a price. Some are DVD sets and others comes as cheap iPhone apps. Some surely work and others are a scam but all promise to relieve your pain in a few easy steps.

26. Saline Drip & O2 – Between sweating, vomiting and forgetting to eat or drink seasickness can quickly dehydrate you worsening your condition fast. So, for some, a trip to the ship hospital results in an IV and an 02 mask which hydrate and oxygenate the patient making then quickly feel better. But a far simpler solution is to drink water and get fresh air before you get dehydrated.

27. Hammock – A hammock strung fore-to-aft will let you lay motionless while the ship rolls beneath you. It won’t remove all motion (you still feel the up and down heave of the ship) but it does reduce the rolls.

28. Be A Burrito – If the hammock doesn’t work for you try wedging lifejackets under your bed to create an acute angle between the mattress and the wall, then climb in. This essentially turns your matteress into a burrito shaped shell, pinning you against the wall and preventing you from rolling in your bed.

29. Get In The Water – While this is impossible on most ships, if you are on a dive boat or on a cruise ship with a swimming pool you can reduce the water’s motion by submersing yourself in it! This works best when you are fully underwater with a SCUBA set.

30. Stay In The Middle – A ship balances at it’s center so that is the place where motion is least pronounced. The bow and stern should be avoided at all cost.

31. Get To Work – Dinghy sailors rarely get seasick and this is because their is too much work to be done by the small crew  to notice the bad weather surrounding them. Free your mind and body with work or exercise to avoid getting sick.

32. Hair Of The Dog – In Britain new sailors are called Greenies for the color their skin takes when the ship starts rolling. Many people get terribly seasick in the beginning of their careers but become old salts after battling their first major – week long – storm.

33. Lay Down –  Some say that lying down prevents histamine from reaching the brain, decreasing nausea. Try laying on your back to prevent your stomach from being pushed into the deck by your body weight.

34. The “Navy Cocktail” – This remedy consists of a heavy dose of both ephedrine and phenergan taken orally and was reportedly used by both the US Navy and NASA astronauts. We can’t suggest taking either without seeking a doctor’s advice.

35. Roll With The Punches – Fighting the roll of a ship can quickly cause fatigue which can lead to seasickness. Try to roll with the ship instead of  stiffening up and fighting the motion (as most newbies unconsciously do).

36. Ice Water – Immerse your feet in ice water. We are not sure if this is a wive’s tale or real cure but I know of at least one sailor who swears by it.

37. Drink Coke or Avoid Coke or Seltzer –

Coca Cola
Coca Cola

Some people swear that Coke helps prevent sea-sickness others say that it causes it. Some also say that any carbonated beverage will help quite the stomach but that ginger beer works best.

38. Get a medical diagnosis, because some people with symptoms don’t have sea-sickness at all. They have ‘VERTIGO’ or food allergies or other medical conditions that, once cured – reveal themselves to be the true culprit(s).

39. Steer The Ship – Taking the helm keeps your eyes on the horizon (2), allows you to change heading (19) and keeps you busy (30) but mostly it gives you a feeling of control over the elements and can be a fast cure to sea-sickness.

40. Clean Your Ears – if wax builds-up in your ear it can lead to motion sickness.  

‘Otolaryngologist’ may be able to prevent you from getting sea sick.
Wax buildup may be the cause of your seasickness. Get a checkup by a medical ear specialist, called an ‘Otolaryngologist’.

Don’t ever use Q-Tips to clean your ears, because that is DANGEROUS. Instead, seek help from an ear doctor called an ‘Otolaryngologist’.

41. Lean Back – Keeping head movements to a minimum may help you reduce the number and complexity of inputs to your brain. To do this recline your chair slightly resting your head.

42. Pull The Trigger – Don’t sit around fearing the sickness, but go ahead and tickle your throat by sticking your fingers way down inside. Some sailors swear by it!

43. Removing Part Of  Your Brain – A university study (Hoffer, 2003). found that by removing the nodulus section of a dog’s brain effectively prevented motion sickness. It’s also thought by some that children under 2 are immune from motion sickness because this part of the barin has yet to develop.  Loss of inner ear function and lesions in the cerebellar nodulus may also work but…..

44. Monitor your breathing – Hyperventilation can lead to lightness of head and induce many of the symptoms of seasickness. Take deep, controlled breaths and stay calm to prevent hyperventilating.

45. Always Puke To Leeward –

Leeward Wind diagram.
Leeward Wind diagram.

If you feel like you might throw up, then go topside and puke to leeward. This is important!

46. Take a Chill Pill – Doctors don’t always do as suggested. I sailed with a doctor once who prescribed Scopolamine to all his patients but, for himself, he preferred Valium. Diazepam , lorazepam and klonazepam are all reported to work but, be carefull, these meds are sedating and can be addictive.

47. Decongest –

Congestion can bring on sea sickness. A decibgestant may help.
Congestion can bring on sea sickness. A decibgestant may help.

Stuffed and runny noses play havoc on the inner ear so, some suggest, vapor rub or chili powder, or decongestant to clear the nasal passages.

48. Get Some Rest – 

Adequate sleep prevents sea sickness.
Adequate sleep prevents sea sickness.

Sleep deprivation magnifies the occurrence of motion sickness because, according to US Navy research, it interferes with the vestibular system ( located in small cavities hollowed out of bone within each ear) habituation process. In the maritime environment, this is often a compounded problem since the sleeping conditions aboard a vessel. The solution? Get plenty of rest before the storm arrives.

49. Be Friendly –  Some studies have suggested that motion sickness tends to be greater in introverts (Kottenhoff & Lindahl 1960) this may partly be due to their being slower adaptors (Reason & Graybiel 1972).

50. Know the enemy –

But what is motion sickness? Sometimes the best prevention is knowledge so, to answer the question, motion sickness is a generic term for the discomfort and associated vomiting induced by a variety of motion conditions aboard ships, aircraft, vehicles, on swings or amusement park rides, in zero gravity environments (e.g. space), and elevators. Actually, the term “motion sickness” is somewhat of a misnomer from two perspectives. First, it can be induced in the absence of motion as during a virtual reality simulation, and secondly, sickness implies that it is a type of disease, when in fact it is a perfectly normal response of a healthy individual without any functional disorders (Benson 1999). Although the symptoms and physiological responses are consistent for all motions, seasickness varies with the individual.

What causes motion sickness?  Most research suggests that motion sickness is caused by the vestibular apparatus (located within the inner ear, the vestibular apparatus provides the brain with information about self motion) sending signals that do not match the sensations of motion generated by visual or kinaesthetic (awareness of the position and movement) systems, or what is expected from previous experience. Said simply, it’s caused by  sensory mismatch, the brain gets confused by too many unexpected inputs.

We shall leave you with this note from Dr. Timothy Hain, an expert on motion sickness. He writes of some interesting sea-sickness facts:

Motion sickness is the nausea, disorientation and fatigue that can be induced by head motion. The first sign is usually an unhealthy pale appearance. Yawning, restlessness and a cold sweat forming on the upper lip or forehead often follow. As symptoms build, an upset stomach, fatigue or drowsiness may occur. The final stages are characterized by nausea and vomiting.

Horses, cows, monkeys, chimpanzees, birds and sheep have been reported in scientific publications to show motion sickness. Rats, unfortunately I suppose, do not vomit so cannot serve as experimental subjects.

According to research, nearly 100% of (human) occupants of life rafts will vomit in rough seas. 60% of student aircrew members suffer from air sickness at some time during their training. For vertical motion (heave), oscillation at a frequency of about 0.2 hz is the most provocative. Motion at 1 Hz is less than 1/10th as provocative. About 7% of seagoing passengers report vomiting during a journey (Lawther and Griffin, 1988).

Women are more sensitive to motion than men, by a ratio of about 5:3 ( Cheung, B. and K. Hofer , 2002). Women are more sensitive to motion around the times of their menstrual cycle (Glunfeld and Gresty, 1996). This may be due to interactions between migraine and motion sickness.

 

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