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                                        November 2010  

You don’t need to let a fear of seasickness stop that cruise of a lifetime!

SeasicknessWe may not all be considering a trans ocean crossing in a small boat, but with winter coming up sunny winter cruising holidays are right back on the agenda.

Brochures and internet information is also coming out now on the new cruising trips for 2011. Despite all the stabilizers and modern technology in new boat design, many people still worry about being seasick and wonder if they could handle a cruise.

Generally with modern cruise ships, seasickness is not a major problem. Most ships will be fitted with stabilizers to help reduce the rocking motion of a ship. These stabilizers can look like stubby wings, or fins, and can be adjusted based on the sea and wind conditions, usually by computer controlled electronic systems. In calm waters, the fins can be moved back out of the way.

But of course they won’t totally remove the rolling motion a ship can experience on any ocean. If you are prone to seasickness and still want to do a cruise, there are a few things to consider.

The first of course is to choose a cruise in calm waters. Most cruise companies will give you a good idea of the weather they expect to meet during the trip and can guide you to the best locations for the time of year you are planning on being away. With modern weather forecasting, ships can adjust their routes if any unexpectedly bad weather is approaching.

If you are still concerned about seasickness, then there are several over the counter solutions that can help. To find out what is best for you, it is important to understand what seasickness is.

Basically, it is not a disease but a name for several unpleasant symptoms that can be caused by motion. Dizziness, nausea and vomiting are the main symptoms and people who have been really seasick say it is one of the worst experiences because you feel so terrible.

The problem is caused because of a conflict between what you are seeing with your eyes and your sense of balance being experienced by your inner ear. Your brain sees some objects that are usually still in your normal life, but your sense of balance is indicating they are moving around. The inner ear becomes confused by mixed messages, becomes stressed and nausea sets in.

There are some things that make seasickness worse. Going below decks can be a real trigger as everything about you is moving while your brain is still saying they should be still. Trying to read, or concentrate on a still object or looking at anything your brain says should be stable will add to the problem.

Instead, take time to look at the horizon. You don’t need to stare at it non stop, but keep looking up at the horizon to give you a stable base for what you are going through. This should help. Fresh air is also a great help just to make you feel better. Sometimes lying down with your eyes closed is the only option because you feel so dreadful, and this can help as it removes the conflict between the balancing aspects of the inner ear and what you are seeing.

The good news is that seasickness often disappears within a few days without treatment as the brain finally adjusts to the new environment. The time for people to get “their sea legs” can vary enormously though, from just a few hours to days and even weeks.

Not everyone suffers from seasickness, and this can make it even worse for sufferers as they see everyone else having a thoroughly good time while they feel dreadful.

If you do suffer from seasickness, there are various medications and solutions that can help. The first thing is to recognise the symptoms at the earliest possible moment – treatment needs to be started before seasickness has really taken a hold. The early symptoms can include yawning and drowsiness with perhaps a feeling of fatigue and possibly a slight sweating. There are various medications which come in different forms, from tablets to patches, and they can be effective for various lengths of time. For instance a scopolamine patch needs to be changed every three days or so, while oral scopolamine is effective for only around six to eight hours.

Many seasickness remedies have some side effects, including a dry mouth and sleepiness, so it is important to discuss it all with your doctor to ensure you choose the best remedy that works well for you.

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