Sea (motion) Sickness

Questions relating to medical issues and treatment. Where possible and appropriate, we will request comment from qualified and reputable NZ-based diving doctors. If your query relates to a personal medical issue, we recommend you contact your GP or relevant medical specialist.

Re: Sea (motion) Sickness

Postby drew74 » Fri Feb 27, 2009 7:24 pm

Wow, there's a lot to take in there, here's my two cents if you like....
I served in the navy for three years as a marine mechanic (Stoker to the old school) and posted to Monowai a survey ship. For a good portion of that time we spent around two-three months at sea at a time, of which i spent the first week or so of every tour throwing up....YAY, not.
There was nothing in the medics arsenal they could give me to help, so i just ended up getting use to it, however there are a couple of tips that i found helped limit the discomfort.
Ginger beer, the only thing i find this helps is to calm the stomach and surrounding muscles and the gas help you burp. (i use this more as a preventative for however long that lasts)
Gaviscon Anti-acid tablets (or the like), i carry these as i know its a "give in" that i will be crook at some stage so when i do i start chewing these prevent the dreaded "burn" when it does come.
HEAPS OF WATER.....A must, been sick dehydrates you, as does diving so keep up the fluids.
and as someone above mention, if your going to be out for an extended time, keep eating, even if you are bringing it back up later, but stay away from acidic foods.

And......Arnotts shapes are the best dive food ever, well in my book anyway.

hope this helps someone.

cheers
drew
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Re: Sea (motion) Sickness

Postby NEMES1S » Fri Feb 27, 2009 8:15 pm

drew74 wrote:
And......Arnotts shapes are the best dive food ever, well in my book anyway.


Yeah John on the Ma Cherie charter out of White Island fed us with the Arnotts Shapes...pizza flavor if I remember.. :lol:
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Re: Sea (motion) Sickness

Postby Jason » Fri Feb 27, 2009 11:49 pm

Thanks Pete the Eel for that very informative input.
I think from now on I will do x2 Travacalm Original the night before and let the residual keep me honest in the morning of the dive.
Such motion-sickness medication (and others) does interfere with my sleep pattern in that I am more sedated but my dreams are more 'restless' you could say - sometimes nightmarish.
I won't take a tablet in the morning from now on - rather that I 'toughen up' and take my chances - I owe it to myself in the long run not to rely upon such medicative measures.
I especially don't like the idea of doing deep dives 'under the influence' of medication with the random anomoly of nitrogen narcosis thrown in.
Its good to read that Drew74 was crook for the first week of a sea-faring stint in the Navy, kinda makes me feel less weird that I am constantly sick - which is how I've been feeling of late.
I think the big factor is for me to consciously understand my flaw by preparation, adjustment and meeting the challenge positively.
Just drifting along with whatever is current.
Currently I'm reading : The Art of Innovation by Tom Kelley.
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Re: Sea (motion) Sickness

Postby Jason » Sat Aug 22, 2009 8:52 pm

Well my buddy rang to go out in his little inflatable known as "Benda".
We were gonna do a 30m bommie in very blue flat water outside of Wollongong, but with the blue water came a strong North to south Current.
I personally stay clear of Current Dives - never hear people have good ones anyway.
So we ventured off behind a place called Lou's Rock at Bass Point.
Just before I flipped into the water, the 'Nausea' hit me and once in the water, things felt better.
Down we went to experience 40m viz and the best dive my Buddy has had at that site in his long dive career.
Once back onboard though, the nausea was back and I spilled my guts out.
"You're right Jase, you really do get sick on boats" he sympathised at my loud retching, heaving and groaning.
That was the end of that day - no second dive as we radioed in early, where my wife met us at the harbour.

So I now have come to the conclusion that my Boat Diving is over as I am sick of being sick.
Because I am just stuck to shore dives now, I didn't see the point of buying a good drysuit (+extras) for $1000 off Des Paroz who only used it x10 times before upgrading. My J-Valve tank was rejected from Test - not because it was in bad condition, but because it was made from an era and metal compostition similar to a tank that blew at South West Rocks and removed someone's hand when filling.

The Dive was good though.
Just drifting along with whatever is current.
Currently I'm reading : The Art of Innovation by Tom Kelley.
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Re: Sea (motion) Sickness

Postby ScubaDog » Fri Aug 28, 2009 9:33 pm

I have never been sea sick but been on enough boats to see that it not nice :-) (sorry can't help it - my dad ran a small fishing boat out of Greymouth and some of my first memories was on that little boat with a thermos of tea and a pack of ginger nuts). Now that I am all grown up and teaching medicine on boats, this subject comes up a lot.

First of all, no one is 100% sure what is the exact cause of sea sickness, as it effects some people differently than others. So the simplest explanation that works most of the time, is that there is some confusion in the brain between what the eyes and what the semi-circular canals are saying. The eyes are saying that boat is still and the outside is moving, the semi-circular is saying everything is moving all the time, the result is sea sickness - We were not built to live on the sea. Until the brain sorts out the confusion (getting your sea legs) the result is not so nice for some and death warmed up for others. To test it, spend time on a boat, come back to the shore; close your eyes and everything is moving even though your back on land - and unfortunately some sailers get land sick after spending weeks at sea. That is your brain filtering the constant motion as the new steady state.

There's also a large amount of self induced sea sickness, which contributes. Sea sickness is almost like a self for filling prophecy. "every time I get on a boat I am sick" - and every time you do, you are. It's the same when you have lunch at the same time every day - your body knows this and starts to prepare ahead of time (try it some time and miss lunch and find out the results, one grumpy, noisy tummy). When you get on a boat your stomach (brain) starts to prepare to be sick and guess what ... you are. Andy's comment is correct, toughen the F up - refuse to be sick, refuse to even entertain the possibility of being sick.

But if someone is sick, stop the smell from reaching your nose - smell bypasses most of the brain's filtering and goes almost straight to the amygdala - sometimes known as the emotional center of the brain. This is why smells can trigger such strong emotional response; if you want to sell your house quickly, have a freshly baked cookies and brewed coffee. If you want to be sick smell vomit :-) One of those foil lined paper bags from the supermarket rolled down will provide about 40 seconds to get to the bin before it spills the contents. A better option is a hospital Embag bag - it will provide a spill and smell proof container.

If you want to go down the medication route - read the instructions carefully, some will take 12 hours to take effect. There are as many seasickness medications as there are sailors, what works for you may not work for others so before the trip, test the medication out at least a week prior, to ensure that the medication does not cause nausea, or make you drowsy and gives you a chance to try something else. Possibly the best all around anti-sea sickness medication is Stugeron (cinnarizine), this unfortunately not available in NZ, so if you know anyone coming from the UK get them to bring some, other wise any of the ones sold here will work, the trick is finding the one that works best for you.

If seasickness is prolonged or severe then dehydration can result. This may cause electrolyte imbalance, which in the most severe cases can be life threatening. No mater how sick they are maintain adequate fluid intake, I would avoid most medications if diving, lots of reasons already explained here.

Most natural anti-sea sickness remedies just don't work and have been shown not to work - for example sea bands - their add "tested by the Royal Navy" what they left out - "and shown not to be anymore effective than a placebo". The one notable exception is ginger this has worked in alleviating some of the nausea associated with chemotherapy. It someone wants to dive I will normally give them Bundaberg Ginger Beer - it seems to have a good amount of ginger, replaces fluids, electrolytes and can settle an upset stomach. I also like the carbonated element; one of the precursors of being sick is the stomach starts to pressurize it's self prior to vomiting, by drinking a carbonated drink it helps you burb out the excess pressure.

Other non-medication methods of limiting seasickness include:
• Staying close to the centre of gravity, away from the bow
• Stay busy
• Minimising head movement
• Focusing on the horizon
• Avoiding staying in the cabin. If that is not possible, circulate fresh air.

My treatment for acute seasickness is Prochlorperazine Maleate 3mg tablets (Buccastem), it can be administered to reduce the vomiting to allow fluids to be given. It is a tablet that is placed under the lip and left to dissolve - I would not use this diving.

Remember that anti-vomiting medications should never be given for vomiting caused by alcohol or other recreational drugs.

Sorry for the length of this - but it is a subject near and dear to me
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Re: Sea (motion) Sickness

Postby Jason » Sun Aug 30, 2009 1:43 am

Thanks ScubaDog.
Never too long a post.
I do take medication - Travelcalm Original. Stay away from bad influences like smoking, drinking and coffee...anything to dehydrate.
I think in this instance, I 'had to' put my head down in regards to the gear in the boat "Pass me my weight Jas". But it is quite hard not to keep one's focus upon the horizon at all times.
I can take the sickness like a man, but the 'inconvenience' is what I am getting sick of.
Spend time and money - that suddenly is wasted over the side feeling wasted. Like I said - I can take the sickness itself, its now a challenge that I take by the horns easily enough...but I just can't tackle how it wastes quality time and effort for both myself and others.
I have pushed through the sickness and gone Diving while sick. Vomiting like a Squid pumping out ink is a tolerable experience in jet propulsion - but in truth I think this is quite a dangerous act. The Regulator can clog or a Diver can carelessly suck in water...in other words, it really ain't worth the effort.

Just got back from Brisbane, so I will soon see a Doctor in regards to if I have any ear/eye/neck problems that give cause to easy nausea.

I'm also looking into a personal Submersible. :wink:
Just drifting along with whatever is current.
Currently I'm reading : The Art of Innovation by Tom Kelley.
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Re: Sea (motion) Sickness

Postby MikeS » Mon Aug 31, 2009 6:32 pm

[quote="Peter the Eel"]As for Transdermal skin patches (Scopoderm), the are not recommended for diving (but it is not mentioned on the leaflet!) due to its side effect.

[quote]

Really interesting stuff.
I have a dive buddy that uses patches, but I'm not sure if she realises there may be side effects (she uses patches rather than pills because its best not to take pills). What are the side effects of the patches? Cheers
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Re: Sea (motion) Sickness

Postby djwazzo » Sat Nov 21, 2009 9:05 pm

Hi Guys,

My mrs get real bad sea sickness. Tried all sorts but Pahia Bombs are quite literally the bomb! She does get tired from them, but usually sleeps in the car or on the boat on the way out. Never had any issues diving with them, one of mates from home also swears by them, on a lot of our offshore expeds he would be puking his guts up but the PB's worked a treat.
Given the effects of being sick for a few hours, physically and mentally, then my view is a diver that has taken sea sickness drugs is in a far better condition to dive.

Shane
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Re: Sea (motion) Sickness

Postby Aquila » Sun Nov 22, 2009 3:24 pm

Bananas are good, They don't cure sea sickness but do give you something nice and soft to feed the fish with....
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Re: Sea (motion) Sickness

Postby Jason » Sun Nov 22, 2009 4:07 pm

Aquila wrote:Bananas are good, They don't cure sea sickness but do give you something nice and soft to feed the fish with....


:lol: (purge) :lol:
Just drifting along with whatever is current.
Currently I'm reading : The Art of Innovation by Tom Kelley.
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Re: Sea (motion) Sickness

Postby Tony » Sun Nov 22, 2009 11:08 pm

Paihia Bombs work for some people, know a few mates who use them on offshore trips. I have only used them once and found that I was somewhat drowsy from it. I always drink alot which seems to help me. I am lucky that I don't really get seasick, but know people that do. They find that sleeping helps as does staying near the stern and looking at the horizon. There is less movement at the stern on most boats and hence if seasick it is better to stay round this area. Helps in heavier seas to as there is less bounce at the back of the smaller boats, was told this before I tried it and didn't believe it. But after a very rough trip earlier this year tried it and now do stand in this space every time if I can. Staying low and centred on the boat helps too, so sitting or lying on the centre line of the boat can help.
Hope that you can get it sorted Vampire, so many good dives off shore.
You know the speed of light. So what is the speed of dark?
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