Feeling queasy? Anchor yourself.


Posted on October 02 2014

Posted by: Yih-Han Ma

The Cruise Life

My wife and I recently got married, and so we spent a week last month cruising through the Caribbean with Carnival Cruise Lines.  Now, as most avid cruise fans know, cruises are a haven for gluttons.  The schedules for the restaurants on the ship always overlap – there are literally no times of the day when you can’t eat.  From breakfast buffets to fancy Captain’s dinners to midnight snacks to post-midnight room service, you’re just surrounded by food.  Unfortunately, for those who get seasick, the cruise experience can be a miserable one, especially when all you see and smell are foods that you can’t enjoy or, worse yet, feel like they may intensify the nausea.

What happens if you’re seasick?

I came across many who experienced moderate to extreme seasickness and was curious what the medical staff on board offered or advised.  According to the ship’s doctors, the first thing they do is identify and remove the root cause.  Of course, folks can’t leave the ship!  But the nausea of seasickness can often be triggered or made worse by medications, certain activities (reading on board, for example, tends to make the problem worse), alcohol, and the smells and sight of certain foods.  Depending upon the severity, the second step is the reduction of symptoms through over-the-counter medication.  Often, these medications, such as Dramamine, can cause drowsiness and require a few hours to kick in. Third, for the most serious cases, the medical staff then treats any secondary consequences of seasickness, such as using IVs to rehydrate patients. 

Role of nutrition and a high protein diet in combating motion sickness

Most importantly, the medical staff stressed the importance of prevention.  A primary preventative measure is diet and nutrition.  A healthy diet (as hard as it can be on a cruise!), staying hydrated, and adequate rest can help make seasickness and nausea more manageable, both by preventing the symptoms from showing up in the first place and also by mitigating the effects once they do appear. 

For me personally, I’ve never had a significant issue with seasickness before.  However, on this trip, it was actually immediately after the cruise that I felt the most nauseous.  It felt as if I was still on the boat – my head was spinning, the ground was moving beneath my feet, and I couldn’t stand upright for long periods.  I ate one of the bars the afternoon after we got off the ship, and felt better immediately. 

Just like with most things in life, preparation is key.  Being seasick (both during the cruise or after) can be a miserable experience and take away the fun of being on a cruise.  It’s important to make sure to take all necessary precautions – including following the right diet and having natural remedies available – so that you can enjoy the cruise to its fullest.

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