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Motion Sickness:
By Rich Johnson

Motion Sickness a.k.a. sea sickness is certainly no laughing matter, particularly when it happens to you. Some of the most experienced captains can succumb to it on occasion and knock on wood, so far I’ve been spared its wrath through my boating and fishing life. When it strikes, the only thing that can save you if you’re a chronic sufferer is to set foot on terra firma again. There are certain things you can do to keep a planned fishing or boating excursion from becoming the boat ride from hell. If you have suffered from sea sickness, there is help and some might even consider the prognosis good.

As in life, common sense prevails. There are going to be problems if you stay out all night boozing it up with friends in the local tavern. Stay away from alcohol, eat sensibly and get a good night’s sleep. When you wake in the morning, don’t down a half pound of bacon with greasy eggs and four cups of coffee. Pass on the tea, coffee, caffeine and greasy foods, but do eat something. Oatmeal, breads, muffins or toast are all decent substitutes and drink plenty of water. Keep from becoming dehydrated. Another great tip I’ll pass along to you all is don’t lay awake at night worrying about getting sick…because you will! Most sea sickness cases are mind induced from worrying about it!

REMEDIES. My girlfriend Heather always suffered from motion sickness and had trouble looking at a postcard of sailing or boating. We tried all sorts of prescription and non-prescription drugs from Dramamine to Promethazine and Scalopamine. Nothing worked until she tried the acupressure wristbands. These wristbands have a velcro strap with a small plastic bead that you place over a pressure point on the underside of your wrist. She tried these and has since had little to no problems on the water, unless we encounter very rough water on the way home.

Another remedy that is FDA approved is the Relief Band available through . This a watch like device worn the same way, but on the underside of the wrist. It sends a slight electrical impulse through the wrist to counter balance the feeling of sea sickness. It works on a small battery that comes with the Relief Band and is replaceable. You can adjust the strength of the impulse by degrees on the face of the "watch." This is a dynamic new way to fish the awful feeling of sea sickness and the FDA gives it an 85% success rating. You can go to www.scrippharmacy.com or call their 800 number at (877) 410-0183.

Some of the more time-tested fixes for these problems are available over the counter are taken orally and include Dramamine, Mazerine and Bonine. If these don’t work the next phase is to try something stronger which means getting a prescription from your doctor. 

In a call to my doctor and pharmacy, I found a pair of prescription drugs that are quite effective. In this call I was also informed there can be side effects when taking any drug for any problem and these drugs are no different. I don’t want to scare anyone, but you should try these remedies out days before your trip to see how these drugs will effect you. Everyone is different and some will experience no problems while others will. Pregnant women should also consult a doctor for advice on these drugs.

The first remedy is Meclizine-HCL (hydra-chloride), sold under the brand name Antivert. This works very well and is the number one recommendation by my personal physician. The side effect to this can be drowsiness.The second most recommended prescription is Scopolamine. The brand name is Trans-derm Scope sold by the Ciba Co., which comes as a patch and is absorbed though the skin via a patch, hence the derm in the name. The patch was off the market for a while due to a manufacturing problem, but all is okay my pharmacy told me they are back in stock and working well again. Side effects here can be blurred vision and/or dry mouth.

GO NATURAL. A well documented natural remedy with the properties to combat nausea is the common spice ginger. Sprinkling generous amounts on your food the night before fishing or boating can be all that’s needed to make the next day comfortable and pleasant for those who are not chronic sufferers.

WHILE AT SEA. If you’re out at sea and the dreaded feeling of sea sickness is fast approaching, try room temperature lemon-lime soda. I’ve seen this work well in the past. Try getting to a part of the boat not rocking as much and above all…stay away from lying down below deck. Going below is the worst thing you can do! Stay topside in the fresh air and keep an eye on the horizon. No matter how the boat is rocking, the horizon will always stay steady, sometimes having a calming effect.

The bottom line in avoiding sea sickness all comes down to preparation and a matter of what you do before you leave the dock. Take your medications the night before, get a good night’s sleep and don’t spend time worrying about it. But above all…If you wait…it’s too late

See you on the water.


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