How to deal with seasickness on diving trips
Many people suffer from occasional seasickness when scuba diving from boats. If you have ever suffered from it yourself you will know how debilitating it can be, a great day out on the water can turn into a countdown of the minutes until you are back on dry land. At the most basic level, seasickness is a matter of sensory mismatch. When you’re sitting on a boat that’s rolling on the water, the body, inner ear and eyes all send different signals to the brain. Your brain gets confused and you get queasy.
Prevention is better than cure so here are some handy hints on how to prevent seasickness and what you can do if you get seasick.
Prevention of seasickness
1. Anti seasickness medication is a great preventative, however, it needs to be taken well in advance of feeling any effects of seasickness. If you already feel sick, it is too late to take medication. There is a range of over the counter medications for seasickness, however you should consult with your pharmacist or doctor prior to taking any such medication and definitely emphasize that you want to dive on this medication as some medications can make you drowsy, dry mouthed or even affect your vision.
2. Prior to your boat trip, ensure that you are fully hydrated and have lined your stomach with some sort of light meal. Toasted bread or something similar is a safe choice. Avoid any sort of fatty foods such as bacon, cheese, fried rice or dairy products, and definitely avoid anything acidic such as fruit juice or fruit, in particular, pineapple.
3. Use a product such as Sea-Bands. A plastic stud is attached to the inside of the wrist band which exerts pressure and stimulates Nei-Kuan acupressure point. It has been proven that pressure on this point relieves nausea and vomiting.
4. Isolate yourself from others who may be suffering from motion sickness. Hearing others talk about motion sickness or seeing others becoming ill can sometimes make you feel ill yourself.
5. Do not sit facing backwards from your direction of travel.
6. Avoid boat journeys. We have a fabulous wreck dive here in Bali, the USAT Liberty shipwreck where you walk in the water from shore.
Possible cures of seasickness
There are many varied cures for seasickness, here are some of the more common cures:
1. A common treatment on dive boats is administering ice cubes to suck on. In some cases, this method does help, if anything, it takes your mind away from being sick to focusing on the ice cube!
2. Ginger sweets or ginger tea help in settling a seasick stomach
3. Have a Coca Cola. It contains phosphoric acid and sugars, the same ingredients you’ll find in Emetrol, an over-the-counter anti-nausea drug.
4. Stay outside, on the back deck is the best place where the boat movement is likely to be less than on a top deck. Try and stay away from any diesel fumes which may make you feel more nauseous. Look ahead at the horizon so that you have a reference point for the movement. Place yourself on the leeward side of the boat just in case you do vomit as being on the windward side will result in your vomit being blown back onto you!
5. Eat something: most people feel better with a little bland food on their stomachs. Bread or white rice.
6. Get into the water if possible; it usually makes a person feel much better to be immersed.
Hopefully it will never happen to you!