Tips for Seasickness

Do not exceedingly fear seasickness: here are some simple "tricks" to fight it

Finally, holiday time has arrived, and for many lucky people this means relaxing on a boat. Unfortunately, however, like for many good things, there is a flip side, and in the case of a boating holiday, this means seasickness. This ailment, very common in the first few days on board “something” that floats, is the body’s reaction when it undergoes certain strains caused by the sudden and fast movements stimulating our nervous system, forcing it to constantly re-elaborate data to find the right balance .

There is, however, no need to excessively fear seasickness, because it generally does not last for a long time and, thanks to some easy “tricks”, it can be easily counteracted. Here is a brief handbook of remedies to scrupulously observe, especially when Aeolus begins to blow, and Neptune awakens.

A FEW TRICKS TO COMBAT SEASICKNESS

The first, fundamental, rule when beginning navigation, even if just for a day, is to go on board after having had a savoury and  “dry” breakfast: this means that cappuccino and croissant for breakfast is forbidden, instead opt for salted crackers, toast or a sandwich.
If you are at sea and weather conditions begin to act up, making the boat veer, roll, or pitch, never go below deck, where movements are amplified and there is less fresh air. Stay above, breathe and do something practical: trim the sails, steer, pull the ropes, this will stop you from thinking about the nausea. If you are in sight of the coast, watch the horizon: look at a fixed point, it will help your eyes, your balance and your brain to align.

If, instead, seasickness is slowly taking over, keep calm, you can’t die of seasickness and it usually does pass in a few hours. Even if eating is the last thing on your mind, eating something solid is always helpful.
But be careful what it is you eat. A very effective remedy is bread, especially if it is very soft, or some crackers, salted are best. Fishermen say that another anti-seasickness food is salted anchovy fillets…for the more courageous. Even bananas work well, just like holding a small slice of lemon in your mouth. Word-of-mouth claims that Coca-Cola is manna from the heavens to fight nausea: there are so many people claiming this is true that it can probably be believed.

Good, now that your have eaten a loaf of bread, two bananas and a few anchovies, put on a jumper (it is cold even in summer on a boat, don’t try and be tough by going shirtless at 30 knots) and lay down with your eyes closed, belly up, on the lowest part of the deck and breathe, trying to keep rhythm with the movements of the boat. Nausea and vomiting takes up a lot of energy and you will be tired: by lying down in this position it is common to fall asleep, creating one of the best defences against pain and tiredness: sleep.

For the more skeptical on natural remedies, there are a lot of “tricks” that you can buy, like Sea-Bands, which need to be put on at least half-an-hour before coming on board, or the well-known patches, which, however have the side effect of creating strong drowsiness, and the risk is missing a great crossing for fear of…being afraid of having seasickness!

So cast aside your fears and arm yourselves with bananas & Coca-Cola!
Happy sailing!

Francesca Pradelli

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