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Medical Matters at sea.

Sea sickness Messages in this topic - RSS

snelem
Posts: 11


10/22/2015
snelem
Posts: 11
We have encountered our share of seasickness, myself and with crew.
In case of myself I have found out that I can still sail and navigate, so it 's just not a very nice feeling. If I have a competent crew I usually lie down to sleep it off, most times I am fine after 1-2 hours. If I need to stay alert, taking the helm or standing up in the cockpit (so you need to follow the motion of the boat) does the trick.
For others, the above helps for some people, for some doesn 't. What we found out this summer is that it makes a big difference to start medication early. I started my daughter, who is very prone to seasickness, on her medication (cinnarizine) the evening before a sailing day and it would make a big difference.

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Erik Snel sy Dutch Rose
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Simon Currin
Administrator
Posts: 771


7/14/2015
Simon Currin
Administrator
Posts: 771
Thanks that 's a super summary from your own direct experience.
Simon

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Simon Currin
S/V Shimshal simon@medex.org.uk
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Hippocampus
Posts: 1


7/14/2015
Hippocampus
Posts: 1
Some evidence to suggest there are two groups of sea sick sailors.
One are sensitive to slow frequency corkscrewing motion such as you would experience on a heavy displacement boat on a broad reach.
Other are sensitive to quick non rhythmic snap jerk motions such as seen in a light multihull in a seaway.
Good to know which group you and crew are before selecting a boat or crew.
The area postrema on the floor of 4th ventricle of the brain is vomit central. It gets input from proprioceptive, visual, cerebellar, reticular, vestibular and olfactory inputs.
Olfactory inputs are strong. Personally I 'm fairly resistant but the smell of diesel fumes can do me in. Walk up to foredeck for a second or two then I 'm fine.
If crew is getting sick.
Get them actively involved and moving. Alerting activities not staring at screens helps.
If engine or genset is on turn them off or change point of sail so no fumes strike them.
Turn off AP and let them helm. If not feasible have them stand with knees bent at companionway facing forward holding on to dodger edge. They are then able to stabilize trunk with legs and not be dependent on cervical movements to maintain horizon.
Change point of sail. People maybe less sensitive at different point of sail. For many broad reaching is worse.
Put them in the wind. Common early symptoms are lassitude ,yawning, feeling hot and headachy.
Keep them out of the head. Smell, lack of horizon, small enclosed space will all increase odds of putting them over the edge.
If very sick rectal compazine works. Fluids can be given by i.v. Frozen cubes of Gatorade or jello may be tolerated even if straight liquids are not. I 've had people chew on raw slices of ginger with benefit. I 've use ginger beer ( not ale) on people at the early lassitude stage with benefit as well so always have some in the frig. If they must lie down put the in the berth closest to the center of gyradius.
Be careful of scop patches. Have had people forget to take old one off before putting new one on and get weird.
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dcaukill
Posts: 48


5/30/2015
dcaukill
Posts: 48
To be fair, I haven 't experienced a great deal of sea sickness (that wasnt precipitated by pre- departure overindulgence; if i do feel queasy i find a fizzy drink does the trick - especially a beer! But I can be affected by land dizziness at the end of a long passage particularly when I have come into a warm atmosphere after a cold passage. I have to get back into the cold air for a short while to recover.

Simone (my wife) suffers badly from it. Thirty years ago she would feel ill, chuck up and the would be the end of it but ... over the years .... the older she gets the worse it gets.

I know it is worse when she:

1 is cold
2 is concerned about the conditions/weather and/or
3 is surprised by an unexpected event.

The usual remedies - looking at the horizon, taking the helm etc do not work for her. Over the years she has tried most proprietary remedies. The following have ameliorated the effects:

1 Ginger (ginger tea, biscuits, beer have helped from time to time)
2 Scolpamime patches (although the send her to sleep) and
3 The wrist watch that gives a periodic electric shock

Her remedy of the moment is Dramamine. You cant buy it in the UK but it is sold OTC in Europe (Spain) and that seems to work and has seen her through many weeks in the Caribbean this winter.
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Daria Blackwell
Administrator
Posts: 729


3/15/2015
Daria Blackwell
Administrator
Posts: 729
Good new lay article about what is currently known about seasickness scientifically. This is the first mention I 've seen of taking the helm as a remedy and landsickness on landfall.

http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2015/02/the-mysterious-science-of-motion-sickness/385469/

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Daria Blackwell - Rear Commodore, PR Officer, Editor OCC Digital Comms & Port Officer, West of Ireland s/v Aleria http://www.coastalboating.net
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Daria Blackwell
Administrator
Posts: 729


12/3/2014
Daria Blackwell
Administrator
Posts: 729
Alex gets seasick relatively easily whereas I almost never do. I can read in the back seat of a car. Alex 's gets better after 1-3 days depending on the sea state. The only time I have gotten queasy is in a confused sea while cooking below. If I go on deck and take the helm, I get almost immediate relief from the queasiness. Concentrating on the horizon is key. We 've found that this has helped almost everyone we 've had on board who became ill. We 've had a spectrum of people from those who got mildly queasy to those who essentially passed out and did not come to until we got to our destination.

Everyone has different manifestations and consequently everyone responds to medication/remedies differently. We tell guests to bring along whatever works best for them, but we also have a variety of remedies aboard, just in case. Nothing is more miserable, and on a long passage potentially dangerous, than seasickness. Here are some of things we 've tried and have onboard:


  • ginger tabs and candy - need high doses

  • Stugeron (cinnarizine) - available OTC in Europe the only thing that works after getting sick


    • Bonine (meclizine) available OTC US the only thing that works for Alex

    • Transderm-Scop (scopolamine) patches (Rx) - good if you can 't keep anything down and so cannot take pills but it can have adverse effects


    • wrist bands that apply accupressure

    • promethazine suppositores (Rx) for serious management of intractable seasickness


      • emergency electrolyte solution packets




      We added the electrolyte packets when a good friend of ours had to be airlifted from a Newport to Bermuda race boat in a comatose state after developing severe electrolyte depletion due to seasickness. But if they can 't keep it down, it won 't help.

      It is important to know the adverse effects of any medications and any allergies that crew may have. Also what other drugs they may be taking which could interact. That 's why we always ask crew to bring their own meds for seasickness and prefer not to share ours.

      A new thing I recently saw at a boat show is the Boarding Ring. Strange eyeglasses that create a horizon effect. http://www.boardingring.com/boutique/ I wonder if anyone has tried them? The inventor claims 100% success. I 'd say these would be great for kids.

      My biggest problem is getting land sick the first time ashore after an extended passage. I literally cannot stand up on solid ground and closing my eyes in the shower causes me to bounce off the walls. I wonder if anyone has a remedy for that?

      --
      Daria Blackwell - Rear Commodore, PR Officer, Editor OCC Digital Comms & Port Officer, West of Ireland s/v Aleria http://www.coastalboating.net
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Simon Currin
Administrator
Posts: 771


11/11/2014
Simon Currin
Administrator
Posts: 771
There are few certainties in medicine but I confidently predict that 100% of OCC boats will have encountered sea sick crew at some stage. Some of us succumb the moment we leave harbour whilst others appear to have a constitution that shrugs off the Southen Ocean. Little progress has been made in understanding why some are more susceptible than others and there is certainly no universal cure. As we have seen in other threads most of the pharmacological remedies are associated with significant side effects some of which may come as a surprise to many users.

Amongst the OCC we have 2,000 members and a conservative estimate would be that each of those would have accumulated 10,000 sea miles. Thus between us we have well in excess of 20 million sea sick miles. My questions to this vast body of knowledge are:

  • Why do people who get sick go to sea at all?

  • When they do go to sea and the worst happens can they still stand a watch or are they berth-bound until it passes?

  • What works and what doesn 't?

  • What side effects of medication have been encountered from the various interventions?

  • Is anyone aware of any hope on the horizon for their sufferers such as new research and new treatments?


  • Please share your knowledge and experiences.

    Simon

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    Simon Currin
    S/V Shimshal simon@medex.org.uk
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