Treatment for Motion Sickness

Treatment for Motion Sickness
Seasickness can turn the perfect fishing trip into a prolonged bout with misery. It happens when one part of your body's three-part balance sensing system--the inner ear, the body's sensory nerves or your vision--indicate you are moving while another of those three parts does not sense motion. This conflict between the senses causes a perceptual confusion that results in motion sickness. The best treatment is prevention because once you get green around the gills it is hard to shake off. Here are a full range of treatment options.


Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Step 1
Know the symptoms so that you can quickly act to prevent a full-blown case. In its mildest form, motion sickness may be just a feeling of uneasiness and a headache. In severe cases, there may be distress, dizziness, cold sweats, excessive salivation, pale clammy skin, nausea and vomiting. Also, anxiety and fear further lower your resistance.
Step 2
Prepare by not having an empty stomach on the day of the outing, but avoid high fat and high protein foods, such as dairy and meat products, and also alcohol. Eat a light meal two to three hours prior to departure, such as fresh fruits and vegetables, oatmeal, pasta or bread. Drink plenty of water prior to departure to prevent dehydration. During short trips, plan to not eat or drink while en route.
Step 3
Prevent the onset of motion sickness by stopping the motion. But given you are aboard for the duration, stay on deck in the fresh air, fix your vision on the horizon and generally watch where you are going--this tends to synchronize your inner ear, body and vision. Head motion increases queasiness so keep your head as still as possible by counteracting the pitch of the boat. If you must lie down, lay amidships. Avoid strong odors, fumes or areas of poor ventilation.
Step 4
Ease worsening symptoms by eating a few dry soda crackers or sipping a carbonated drink like sparkling water or ginger ale. Avoid salty, high sodium snacks like potato or corn chips. Try controlling your breath. This works to induce calm, reduce anxiety and cleanse your body through your lungs more efficiently. Do not hyperventilate which causes dizziness, but simply control your breathing to allow all stress responses to calm down.
Step 5
Consider herbal remedies. Ginger has a long history for treating stomach ailments and nausea. It can be eaten raw or in candied form, taken as a powder in a capsule or consumed as a tea or as ginger ale. Peppermint, chamomile and black horehound all have similar properties. One all natural over-the-counter (OTC) remedy, MotionEaze, uses a special formula of lavender, peppermint, birch, frankincense, chamomile, myrrh and ylang ylang. Drops are applied behind the ears and quickly absorbed, compatible with water sports.
Step 6
Explore alternative approaches, such as acupressure and homeopathy. Acupressure works by applying manual pressure to key areas of the body or through the use of elastic wristbands sold in most drugstores. One point, the Neiguan or P6 acupuncture point, has been shown effective and is located three finger widths above your wrist on the inner arm. A second point addresses the small intestine (17) and is located below the earlobes in the area behind the jawbone. Homeopathic treatments attempt to treat disease by causing similar symptoms using diluted tinctures. Examples of treatments for motion sickness are cocculus, tabacum and petroleum. Although considered safe, no preparation has yet proved different than placebo.
Step 7
Try other popular OTC or prescription medications as a last resort. Most are antihistamines that act as anti-emetics to effectively suppress the vomiting reflex but have side effects of drowsiness, dry mouth, impaired judgement and sometimes blurred vision. These products include Dramamine or Equate (dimenhydrinate), Bonine (meclizine), Benadryl (diphenhydramine) and Marezine (sysclizine). Use of these tablets or capsules by infants or children under 12 is restricted. Read the label. A prescription drug called scopolamine is offered in a transdermal patch (Transderm Scop) or pill (Scopace). Another prescription option is promethazine hydrochloride (Anergan & Phenergan). Consult your physician for more information about these medications.

Article Written By Vaughn Clark

Living in Boise, Idaho, Vaughn Clark has been a freelance writer for 18 years. His articles have appeared in "Backpacker" magazine, "The New Times," the "Ventura County Star," and "Santa Barbara News-Press." He has also published poetry and written three full-length adventure screenplays.

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