5 Ways to Prevent Seasickness

by  Kristen O'Neal | Dec 7, 2015

If you’re concerned that seasickness could put a damper on your cruise, don't worry. Today, cruise ships are outfitted with excellent stabilizers, and only 10 to 25 percent of passengers report seasickness.

Some people are just more prone to it than others: Motion-sickness sufferers, children under 12, and pregnant women are likely contenders, as are people who get migraines or take certain medications. Adults over 50 are biologically less likely to become seasick.

The most effective technique for treating seasickness is ensuring that it never actually starts.

“As long as you’re conscientious beforehand, dealing with seasickness is easy,” says Dr. Ronald Primas of travelmd.com. “I ‘pregame’ if I know I’m going on a ship.”

Here, he shares his best prevention tips with us:

1. Stay hydrated and don't overindulge.

“Hydration is key,” Dr. Primas states. “Also, a lot of people get excited to eat big meals right when they get on the cruise, but small, frequent meals are more effective.” Alcohol and smoking can make seasickness symptoms substantially worse, and so can bad odors.

2. Pick a strategic cabin location.

“The sweet spot is in the center of the ship, in the middle of the decks, since it’s the most stabilized," he says. When in your cabin, lie down, close your eyes, and practice deep breathing to help curb milder cases.

3. Get some air.

Plenty of fresh air may help to relieve symptoms. If you do go out on deck, though, keep your eyes on the horizon.

4. Try natural solutions.

“People who practice postular training are sometimes better able to adapt to the ship,” Dr. Primas advises. This may mean doing exercises to strengthen your core and improve your posture and balance well in advance of your cruise. Most people adjust to the motion of the ship on their own at different rates — it can take 48 to 72 hours. Accupressure bands have proven helpful, so pack a few beforehand. Ginger (as in tea or capsules) may help to settle your stomach, although it won’t tackle the other factors in seasickness.

5. Take medication early.

Take your first dose of antinausea medication before you get on the ship. Brands containing meclozine are common because they’re available over the counter, but the medication can make you drowsy. Dr. Primas swears by the scopolamine patch, available by prescription. It may be the most effective seasickness drug, but you have to apply it early, and the side effect of dry mouth can be annoying. Remember to bring extra supplies with you: If your vessel encounters a storm or choppy seas, all the work your body has done to adjust can be erased again. Nausea medication like prescription ondansetron can help, and promethazine can help with severe seasickness for ages 2 and up.

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