There’s nothing quite like a day on the water – the sun shining on your face, the sound of waves lapping against the hull, and the promise of adventure on the horizon. However, for certain individuals, the allure of boating is tarnished by seasickness. While it may be mild for some, this unpleasant sensation can quickly turn an exciting boat day on the water into a nightmare for others. Fortunately, there are effective seasickness remedies you can use to manage and prevent seasickness so you can enjoy your boat day to the fullest.
What is seasickness?
Seasickness (or motion sickness) is a physiological reaction to motion, occurring when there’s a disconnect between what your eyes, inner ears, and sensory nerves perceive. To put it simply, seasickness is when your body gets confused about whether you’re moving or standing still.
Here’s how it works:
Your inner ear helps you maintain balance by sensing the motion of your body, however, when you’re on a boat, the rocking motion causes a sensory mismatch by sensing motion in your inner ears that isn’t seen with your eyes. The result? Dizziness, discomfort, and nausea.
How do you prevent seasickness?
Reduce the risk of becoming seasick with these helpful tips:
- Check the weather forecast: Sailing on a calm day can make a world of difference when it comes to preventing seasickness. Where possible, schedule your boat days when the sea is expected to be calm, avoiding rough seas and stormy forecasts.
- Get plenty of rest before your trip: Feeling tired from missed sleep and busy days can make you more likely to experience seasickness; wind down before your trip with a good night’s sleep and plenty of rest..
- Stay hydrated and eat a light meal: Dehydration and an empty (or overly full) stomach can make seasickness worse. Before your boat day, make sure you drink plenty of water and have a light, balanced meal (avoid heavy, greasy, and spicy foods).
- Take motion sickness tablets: Talk to your doctor about seasickness tablets that might help. Over-the-counter medications – like Dramamine, Bonine, and antihistamines – and prescription-based scopolamine medications can be effective in preventing seasickness by controlling nausea and vomiting.
- Wear an acupressure wristband: Acupressure bands, also known as sea bands, are wristbands that apply pressure to specific points on your wrist to relieve seasickness. While there’s no scientific evidence proving their effectiveness, many people find them helpful. They’re also non-invasive and drug-free, so they’re certainly worth trying.
How do you stop seasickness?
When seasickness strikes, it often turns an exciting boat trip into a miserable ordeal. While preventative measures can help, additional strategies to alleviate symptoms and get rid of motion sickness are sometimes necessary to make your time on the water more enjoyable.
Have a light bite
Consider packing light, bland snacks to help settle your stomach and keep up your energy levels if you become seasick. Easy-to-digest foods that could help stop motion sickness after it starts include:
- Plain rice and pasta
- Plain bread
- Green apples
Ginger – whether raw, candied, or brewed in tea – is a natural remedy that’s been used for centuries to alleviate nausea and motion sickness. Nobody knows exactly why it works, but multiple global studies have verified its effectiveness.
It’s also important to stay hydrated, however, you should avoid excessive water intake, as a full stomach can be as uncomfortable as an empty one. Sips of cold water, milk, apple juice and ginger ale are a good choice for keeping hydrated while easing nausea symptoms.
Get some fresh air
If you start feeling queasy, one of the most effective and immediate seasickness remedies is to step outside and get some fresh air. The enclosed spaces of a boat’s interior can worsen the symptoms of seasickness because there’s less ventilation and stronger odours (like food).
Stepping out onto the deck allows you to breathe in the fresh sea air and focus on the horizon, which can help keep your inner ear and eyes better coordinated. If possible, try to face the direction you’re going and find a high or clear point that provides the most fresh air.
Avoid things that trigger nausea
Certain activities can trigger sea sickness symptoms. For instance, looking at screens, reading, or doing tasks that force you to look down can intensify the sensory disconnect between your inner ear and eyes. To alleviate and manage seasickness symptoms, avoid looking down and, instead, focus on the horizon (or a fixed point in the distance).
Other triggers to avoid include drinking too much alcohol, not drinking enough water, eating heavy meals (particularly greasy, spicy, and acidic food) and being around strong odours.
While motion-induced sickness can be a formidable adversary on open water, with these seasickness remedies, you can ensure that the allure of the sea and the joy of boating isn’t overshadowed by the discomfort of sea sickness.
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