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July 22, 2008 2:53 PM   Subscribe

Medication for Sea Sickness? (Just in case)

I will be on a Navy ship for two weeks and am wondering what I can bring/take for motion/sea sickness?

The only time I get motion sickness is when I try to read in a car. I've never been on a large sea vessel (except a cruise liner), so I don't know how my body will react.

Does anyone have suggestions for medications to bring?
posted by chrisalbon to Travel & Transportation (22 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
posted by sharkfu at 2:58 PM on July 22, 2008

Try chewing a whole cardamin seed. It works for me for nausea in general.
posted by cmoj at 3:01 PM on July 22, 2008

ginger is supposed to be good too, if you can't find ginger biscuits you can probably find capsules.
posted by runincircles at 3:09 PM on July 22, 2008

I do a lot of sailing. Everyone can get seasick - you may go years and never feel a thing at all, and then one odd set of conditions will get to you. I've been lucky so far, but what I've always done and have been recommended to do is to bring not one but several different methods for combatting sickness. Dramamine, SeaBands, and ginger ale make a good set to choose from. Bring a stash of dry boring food like plain crackers or biscotti.

Your behavior actually has a lot of impact as well. Pick a berth that's aligned fore-to-aft, not one set horizontal to the keel line, if you have a choice. Sleep as far aft as you're allowed to; less motion aft. Spend as much time as you can on deck, or where you can look out a window and see the horizon. Stay well hydrated all the time. Don't drink too much coffee or soda - alternate between water and other beverages. If you get overheated at any point, cool yourself down before continuing to work.
posted by Miko at 3:11 PM on July 22, 2008

Sea-Bands. I swear by 'em.
posted by katillathehun at 3:12 PM on July 22, 2008

Seabands. I've used them successfully for years on both boats and in cars. You can get cheaper, generic versions of them now (that work just as well) in most pharmacies.
posted by meerkatty at 3:13 PM on July 22, 2008


As a sailor myself I have a question and some great news for you...

What ship will you be on. If the answer is a Carrier or a USNS wont feel too much...anything else, see below...

If you get on the ship and find you are feeling queasy, you can ALWAYS go down to medical (sick bay) and get a patch that goes behind your ear that helps big time...oh and they are free, take as many as the Corpsman will give you....

Fair winds and following sea's...
posted by TeachTheDead at 3:14 PM on July 22, 2008

I am prone to seasickness and successfully avoided any trace of it on a cruise a few years back with a combination of Sea-Bands and the Transderm Scōp patch, as mentioned above. If you can get your hands on both, I'd recommend that. YMMY, but I don't recall having any side effects.
posted by dhammond at 3:18 PM on July 22, 2008

The patch that TeachTheDead is referring to is probably transdermal scopolamine, and is incredibly effective for a lot of people (myself included).
posted by kanuck at 3:21 PM on July 22, 2008

You're smart to prepare yourself. Bring some Gravol just in case the patch type gives you side effects (I always got a splitting headache). I get ill reading in cars and found out about seasickness when I got a job on an oil rig. It was horrible.
posted by bonobothegreat at 3:21 PM on July 22, 2008

Seabands are AWESOME. It was my first time on a small craft this weekend, and we went out on rough seas. I took a dramamine and I was green, but later I put on a Seaband and my nausea cleared up in about 5 minutes. Amazing.
posted by MeetMegan at 3:24 PM on July 22, 2008

Hey! I also get sick reading in cars, but I've been working on a smallish (58') boat every day for the last four months -- in preparation for my project moving on to a Navy ship. The first day I was a little woozy and got really tired the first day, but I haven't had a single problem since then, and I've been reading, writing, and working on a computer for hours at a time.

I do keep a pair of Seabands in my bag, and I've had lemon drop candy (the more sour, the better) recommended by folks who do get a little nauseous.

Fresh air is always your friend when you're feeling crappy.

Have fun! Boats are awesome!
posted by olinerd at 3:53 PM on July 22, 2008

The one consistent element in the replies this question has gotten over the years is this:

Different things work for different people.

You just have to try them one at a time until (if you're lucky) you find the solution that helps most. Ginger doesn't work for me at all; it just makes me burp. I'm about to try bonine; it's available over the counter and my doctor says it's better than Dramamine/Gravol because there are fewer side effects. My boss's wife swears by the scopolamine patches linked above, but they're prescription-only so maybe not your best first pass. I've never tried the rubber bands but enough folks swear by them that they're on the list for later, too.
posted by mediareport at 4:15 PM on July 22, 2008

Dramamine can make you very sleepy; Bonine supposedly has less of this effect but I can't vouch for it personally, having bought but never used it. It is not available in all drugstores; you may have to shop around. Eating a cracker may help.
posted by Morrigan at 4:22 PM on July 22, 2008

Chewable meclizine (generic Bonine). I live on this stuff. It does not make me drowsy.
posted by astruc at 4:52 PM on July 22, 2008

I second the chewable meclizine. They've worked wonders for me. I had tried Dramamine, but all it did was knock me out. The meclizine didn't seem to have a drowsy side effect, at least for me. Good luck.
posted by drleary at 5:13 PM on July 22, 2008

Bonine doesn't work for me. There's a 'less drowsy' Dramamine formula that you can buy. Works for me in cars.

The seasick bands didn't do a damn thing for me.

As someone said above, I think different things work for different people. Stock up on everything mentioned here and you'll be set.
posted by mudpuppie at 5:57 PM on July 22, 2008

I get motion sickness pretty easily and I've never had a problem on *large* boats. One thing that definitely helps is to get up in the fresh air for a bit, if possible.

Beyond that, dramamine has worked for me - though there was that one time I had to take it twice because the first tablet made an encore presentation. Totally fell asleep for the rest of the trip, though that did have the benefit of distracting me from being sick.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 7:10 PM on July 22, 2008

FWIW Sea-Bands have been tested and are little different than placebo. Now, placebo actually works pretty well against motion sickness so I'm not doubting the people who say they work for them. But it's no better than placebo from everything I've read.

Dramamine works considerably better than placebo.
posted by Justinian at 7:33 PM on July 22, 2008

Nthing Meclizine. It is the travel medication that solved my life-long airsickness. Interestingly, it's marketed as Dramamine-II.
posted by tcv at 8:07 PM on July 22, 2008

A bit late maybe, but what I use when necessary is Stugeron, 15 mg cinnarizine tablets. The problem is that I don't know if you can get it in the US; certainly in one country I tried to get some, they only had 75 mg capsules, intended for treatment of vertigo. I'll generally take them in advance of encountering bad weather (if possible), for the first night and gradually tail them off over a day or two - I've been fine after taking them at the start of a three-day gale (for values of 'fine' that mean 'functioning and not vomiting', anyway), and thrown up two hours into a trip where I didn't take anything.

I've taken dramamine, and it was fantastic - when I wanted to sleep on a twelve-hour bus trip. If you've got to be awake on this ship, I wouldn't recommend it. I've heard very good things about the transderm-scop patches, but the one time I've encountered them was when I was on a tall ship, and people using them weren't allowed to go aloft; again, I don't know what if anything you're going to have to do on the ship, but I'm guessing the patches come with warnings about operating machinery and so on, and I imagine even the USN has to do risk assessments for work aloft or other tricky jobs.

I've used ginger more in cars than at sea: I can't stand the chewing gum, I do better with ordinary sugar-free mint flavour; ginger biscuits are only any good if I'm still feeling okay enough to eat them; crystallised ginger isn't bad, and the burning pain of chewing raw root ginger can be effective in distracting from potentially sick-making unpleasantnesses on overheated, badly ventilated buses, but I'm not sure how it would stand up to longer-term use.
posted by Lebannen at 3:08 PM on July 23, 2008

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