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How to stop Seasickness from ruining your next Fishing trip

Seasickness seems almost comical when it happens to someone else. Your fishing buddy or boating companion, at first eager and enthusiastic, is suddenly reduced to a helpless, withering victim doubled over at the rail. You chuckle to yourself quietly, or among the other non-seasick passengers onboard. For some reason, you feel more “macho” than this other guy, who obviously isn’t tough enough to handle “a few little swells.” Then all of a sudden, you start feeling a little nauseous yourself. As you step out of the galley to get a little fresh air, the exhaust and fumes of the boat’s engine hit you, causing your stomach to turn even more. Your skin gets a little pale and clammy, as you start to think about becoming seasick. And then, before you know it, you find yourself literally in the same boat as your poor friend leaning over the gunwale, “feeding the fish.” The fact is, anyone – even the most seasoned mariner – can get seasick at one time or another. Knowing what causes this condition and how to prevent it, or cope with it once you have it, can mean the difference between enjoying your day on the water, or being miserable the entire time that you’re out there. BoatersWorld.com, the Web’s leading source for marine products and related information, offers the following useful information and tips:

What Causes Seasickness?

In simple terms, seasickness occurs when the body, the inner ear and the eyes all send different signals to the brain. The constantly changing movement stimulates receptors in to the brain, leading to confusion, queasiness, headaches, dizziness, nausea, dry-heaving and vomiting. The brain begins to malfunction as the normal, land-based environment it is accustomed to suddenly begins to act differently. Your visual system recognizes things like furniture and cabin walls as stable, while your inner ear is sending strong messages to the brain that they are not.

By taking certain precautions prior to your trip, you can prevent "Mal de Mer" from ruining your day on the water.
I Need a New Drug

The best means of preventing seasickness is to take steps prior to even setting foot on a boat. Some well known over the counter medications for preventing seasickness include brand name drugs such as Dramamine, Bonine, Meclizine and Benadryl. Several stronger, more effective seasickness medications, including Promethazine and Ephedrine are also available by prescription only. Both the over-the-counter and prescription drugs generally work well for preventing seasickness, or for helping you recover more quickly once seasickness has begun. Many people are fearful of taking these medications, however, because of the possible negative side effects. In most cases, however, the side effects (which typically include drowsiness and blurred vision) are nowhere near as unpleasant as seasickness itself. Medications such as those mentioned above also need to be taken at least a half hour ahead of time in order to do the job. Some users simply fail to allow enough time for these drugs to take effect, and consequently write them off as “ineffective.”

A Natural Alternative

There are also natural alternatives to seasickness drugs. One of the best-known remedies is ginger. According to MotherNature.com, a natural products/health advice Web site, several studies conducted have shown that taking two 500 milligram ginger capsules to be more effective in combating seasickness than the recommended dosage of Dramamine. The German researchers that conducted these studies believe that ginger works via the digestive tract, instead of shutting down messages traveling to the brain (as most anti-nausea drugs function). Taking ginger capsules just prior to your planned boating or fishing trip, or at the first signs of nausea, should help prevent or lessen the severity of seasickness. If you don’t have access to ginger capsules, try eating some ginger snap cookies or drinking ginger ale. These sources of ginger are not as strong or pure, but they should help a little.

Patch Things Up

Another popular option for preventing seasickness is what has become known as “the patch.” Worn behind the ear, such patches gradually release the drug Scopolamine into the body (over the course of three days). These patches are available only by prescription, and must be applied at least eight hours before exposure to work as intended. Like seasickness pills, Scopolamine patches can produce various side effects, including dry mouth, blurry vision, drowsiness and dizziness. Despite these possible drawbacks, the patch remains an effective option for seasick-proned boaters and anglers.

Band Aid

A drug-free option for preventing seasickness is available in the form of “wristbands” offered by various manufacturers. This concept was invented by physician and surgeon Dr. Daniel Choy in 1980 during the Newport-Bermuda yacht race, when the seasickness pills he was carrying got wet and melted in his pocket. It was then that Dr. Choy found considerable relief from seasickness by pressing the Nei-kuan pressure point, located just above the crease of the wrist, towards the elbow, midway between the flexor tendons. Medical researchers hypothesize that there are precise neuroanatomical relationships between the Nei-kuan point and the hypothalamus, cerebellum and brain stem. Wristband type solutions for seasickness are available over-the-counter through most drug stores. You can also purchase them online at BoatersWorld.com (www.BoatersWorld.com). According to the manufacturers, these bands are incredibly safe and effective, and can be used by both children and adults, even expectant mothers, without any problems.

It’s Too Late – Now What Do I Do?

Of course, the best way to prevent seasickness is to take preventative action, but what happens if you find yourself becoming seasick anyway. The best course to take is to recognize and react to any symptoms as early as possible. What are the early warning signs? Yawning, drowsiness, fatigue and lethargy are the pre-cursors to seasickness. Problem is, these signs can be hard to recognize, especially if you are already tired. Most people don’t detect oncoming seasickness until there are more obvious signs, such as stomach discomfort (nausea) and slight sweating, excessive salivating or belching. As you start to become seasick, you’ll find that performing various tasks requiring mental concentration becomes more difficult. Even simple assignments, such as threading line through the guides of a rod or tying on a hook become seemingly impossible.

Seasickness is obvious in its more advanced stages, when vomiting usually begins.
As mentioned, in order to avoid getting to this point, do something before these serious symptoms occur. Take anti-motion sickness medication. Avoid small, cramped spaces, get out in the fresh air, and take slow, deep breaths. Try going up on deck and looking at the horizon to eliminate visual conflict. Stay around midship or aft, where the pitching and rolling of the ship is less intense. Also be sure to avoid alcohol and smoking – this will only make your condition worse. The worst thing you can do is to stay in a confined area (such as the galley) where there is typically smoke and various odors, and be sure not to eat any greasy or spicy food being served up. You can try downing some soda crackers, but that’s about it. Don’t sit inside and try to read either, thinking the distraction will help. Trying to focus on the print while the boat moves is a sure way to bring on seasickness. While the tendency is to go off by yourself when seasick, don’t let your embarrassment discourage you from seeking aid from others onboard, such as the skipper or crew members, that may be able to offer helpful suggestions and/or time-tested remedies. The skipper may also be able to make a course adjustment that will make the ride a little less rough.

Damage Control

If you do become seasick, remember to replace the nutrients lost from your system due to repeated vomiting. Even if you don’t feel like eating, force yourself to consume small amounts of saltines, broth and fluids that include glucose and electrolytes. Doing so will help alleviate continued bouts of nausea, strengthen your system, and move you along on the road to recovery.