Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Motion sickness remedies - including an interesting new approach

I am blessed in only getting slight seasickness on very rare occasions. Usually when I am below decks cooking in confused seas is when I start to feel it coming on. If I go back on deck and take the helm, that usually does the trick in getting the queasiness to subside. I can even read sitting in the back of a car without a problem. Lucky me.

Others are not so fortunate. My husband, Alex is one of those people. It takes a few days at sea for him to feel completely free of seasickness, and even then a confused sea can send him into a downward spiral. He's learned to control it with a number of different options, but the one most effective for him is to take a motion sickness tablet, Bonine, at the first thought of upset.

We have sailed, thankfully only for day sails, with people who have become violently ill and we can appreciate their misery.  Alex's mother for one, and she gets seasick in cars. It seems that a different remedy works best for each person we've encountered.  So we sail with a boat load of paraphernalia and tablets just in case they are needed.  Here are our top choices.  Some are available only in the US. Others are available only in Europe. We stock up on both sides of the Atlantic.

  • Bonine - preventive once-a-day tablets containing meclizine hydrochloride an antihistamine that must be taken before the nausea sets in to be effective. ( (Also available as a number of other trade names including Antivert, Sea Legs, and Dramamine Less Drowsy Formula.) 
  • Stugeron - mild tablets containing cinnarizine also an antihistamine - one of the only medicines that works after the onset of nausea
  • Wrist bands - A small plastic 'button' on the inside of the wrist band exerts gentle pressure on acupuncture points believed to relieve nausea. To get the strongest effect, a band must be worn on each wrist.
  • Ginger tablets and candies - ginger in high enough doses is known to prevent motion sickness
  • MotionEaze - Homeopathic motion sickness remedy that is applied just behind the ear
  • Kwells - contains 300mcg hyoscine hydrobromide, thought to prevent motion sickness by acting on the balance systems of the inner ear and the nerve centres of an area of the brain which is responsible for controlling vomiting
  • Dramamine - contains dimenhydrinate which is highly sedating and has been mostly replaced with products containing meclizine (see above)
  • TransdermScop - a patch worn behind the ear which contains scopolamine - can have limiting side effects
  • Phenergan (promethazine) or Compazine (chlorpromazine) Suppositories for serious intractable cases when pills cannot be kept down long enough to dissolve.

I much prefer non-drug solutions.  Along comes a strange looking and even more strangely named product that is awarded The DAME (Design Awards METS) for innovative new nautical products at the Amsterdam show.  Created for the French navy, the Boarding Ring, a set of unusual glasses is proven to work by providing a horizon in peripheral vision.   The claim is that the glasses work within 12 minutes of putting them on.  For mal de mer, it is an interesting solution. I guess we'll have to add them to the collection, but at £45 they are not a cheap solution. 

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