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7 Tips to Defeating Motion Sickness

by Daniel Fox Blog

Antarctic Peninsula

7 Tips to Defeating Motion Sickness

Oh motion sickness, why do you plague us so? We’ve taken Antarctic cruises and Arctic expeditions to far and distant lands to gaze in wonder at the Aurora Borealis, to marvel at clean unpopulated snow-scapes, to meet the local wildlife…  

…or we would be doing all those things if we weren’t so busy hanging over the side of the ship and introducing the marine life to what we had for lunch.

What is Motion Sickness?

It can grab you anywhere. The car, plane rides, roller coasters, and of course on the sea. It’s embarrassing, upsetting, sometimes even painful, and it’s nature’s cruel way of making us regret doing anything other than standing very still.

Motion sickness on the sea occurs when our eyes and our ears (more precisely, our sense of balance) simply refuse to get along.

When you’re on the deck of a ship that’s rolling through the water your sense of balance gets the idea that the ship is your world; that rolling deck becomes your frame of reference to everything else.

But your eyes are looking around and trying their very best to tell your ears that the world is just as still as it always was, we’re just on a boat stupid.

Momma eyes and Daddy ears argue, upsetting baby digestion system, and hey presto! you get to see your ham and cheese sandwich for the second time that day.

Mastering Your Motion Sickness

Here are some suggestions as to how to get your various bodily bits all back on the same side.

1. Eat light and eat right.

First off, it’s always a good idea to be hydrated. So if you’re going aboard a ship and worried that you might have trouble, at the very least get some water into your system. Being dehydrated makes the vomiting process so much worse for you.

Don’t eat heavy foods or foods that already upset your system, even just a little bit. The foods that can create a tiny snowball of discomfort on land can easily tumble into an avalanche out on the sea.

A barfy, pukey avalanche.

Try eating a small portion of something bland. Experts suggest that eating something high in protein – peanut butter, meat, fish – can help beat back the bad stomach gurgles.

2. No booze!

No! Put that down! We know a martini settles your nerves, but it’s certainly not going to settle your stomach if things start going topsy-turvy.

Plus alcohol dehydrates you, which is one of the reasons why hangovers make you feel like an unwashed wool sock that your cat puked in. You never want to be dehydrated during a period of nausea.  

3. Keep Your Face Cool.

The same study cited in point #1 also says it helps to keep your face cool. So if you’re feeling an oncoming case of the whoopsies, get yourself up on deck and let that clean polar air soothe your temples.

Besides, you’re supposed to be seeing the sights anyway. What are you doing below decks, you silly goose?

4. Watch the Horizon.

This may be your best bet. By keeping your eyes locked on the horizon your brain will eventually get the message that you’re on a moving vessel, not that the whole world has gone crazy and started rocking back and forth.

Since the misrepresentation by your senses of your situation is what causes motion sickness, this tip gets to the cause of your distress.

5. Less Agitation = Less Regurgitation.

Position yourself on the ship where you’re getting the least motion. Less motion means less disagreement between your eyes and ears.

On rolling water your best bet is toward the centre of the ship.

6. Keep Away from Other Motion-Sickness Malcontents

While we sympathize with your need to help your fellow human beings in distress, (Technicolor) yawns are contagious. 

The smell isn’t going to help your tumultuous tummy either.

7. When Worse Comes to Worst, Try Your Friendly Neighbourhood Doctor

There are medications like scopolamine that can be very effective against motion sickness. However they generally have side-effects like drowsiness, which isn’t much fun when you’re out seeking adventure. Consult your physician.

Motion sickness can be a major hurdle for some people to overcome before they feel confident enough to set out on an expedition. But through some trial and error, it can be conquered… leaving you free to experience the adventure of your lifetime.

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