I must have the most horrible inner ears because I can’t even look down to read a map or glance to the backseat without a wave of nausea running through me. My oldest can get hit pretty hard if she’s sitting in the very back of a hot car for too long with nowhere to go. I spend all nine months of my pregnancies carrying a blue bucket with me, just in case. I’ve had to hurl in public, in the car, in parking lots and school drop off lines. My kid has been a little luckier and so far the only horror stories we have happen in either the car or our house.
Knowing our history with upset stomachs in the car and on airplanes…who on EARTH decided it was a good idea to take one of us (me) on a cruise in August? The good news is that I’m wildly familiar with nausea and ways to treat it, handle it and hopefully prevent it. I’ve done my best research possible to prepare and prevent my motion sickness from getting the best of me. Of all the places I don’t want to be sick? Vacation is #1.
When I was younger and I set out on road trips with my family they would slip me Dramamine about an hour before we left, by the time we hit the open road I was passed out, fast asleep for several hours. I certainly don’t want to be passed out for my cruise which means paying extra close attention to the ‘drowsy’ and ‘non-drowsy’ labeling on OTC motion sickness medication. Both my daughter and I have a prescription for Zofran, a powerful anti-vomiting drug that can help calm the queasiest of stomachs. I have to take it when I’m pregnant and my oldest has to have it on hand for stomach migraines. I’m planning on skipping Dramamine completely and going straight for the Zofran, talk to your doctor about it if motion sickness is a legitimate worry for you. (It can cause some pretty serious headaches and constipation in some people, just be aware.) There’s also a prescription patch that can be applied behind your ear if you know motion sickness is an issue for you and OTC treatments just don’t work. (Hi! Me.)
If medication isn’t really your thing there’s several other things you can do to hopefully prevent or alleviate seasickness.
- If you can, book your room in the middle of the ship. The motion of the ocean is felt the most in the front and rear of the ship, while some super sensitive people have said they still felt the boats movement in the middle it was far less than the rear or front.
- Focusing on a fixed point far off in the distance will calm your senses and allow you to regain a sense of stability, the horizon is the best place to look out at (another bonus for having a room with a balcony!)
- SeaBands – Available from drugstores, SeaBands look like little terrycloth sweatbands with a plastic button that you position over a certain pressure point in your wrist and it supposedly helps relieve sickness. I used them with my first pregnancy and while I wouldn’t say they worked perfectly, they worked well enough that I wasn’t about to risk taking them off.
- Full Stomach – It sounds counter intuitive, but a stomach full of good, healthy food (nothing fried or heavy) is probably the easiest way to combat sickness. Eat little bits and eat often, once you get too hungry all bets are off for sickness.
- Ginger – Okay, so this one never worked for me because I loathe ginger and the tree it grew in on, but if you like it? It’s worth a try, same goes for Ginger Ale.
- Coke - Something about the syrup in Coke has a calming effect on your stomach. Mexican Coke is best (if you’re cruising to Mexico? Ole!) but any Coke is better than none. Sip it, don’t guzzle it.
- Sour candy – There’s something about sucking on a sour candy when you’re not feeling tops, again, don’t overdo it or you’ll end up with a stomachache and canker sores.
If all this fails, first of all, I’m sorry. Second of all, cool, quiet, and dark is your friend. So is water. Throwing up water hurts far less than anything else, don’t guzzle it, but keep enough in you to stay hydrated and stave off the dry heaves. (Also please remember to only drink SEALED bottled water on shore.) Being prepared before you get on board will help anyone who happens to suffer from a sensitive stomach, hopefully no one in your family has to suffer from motion sickness on a family cruise but if it does happen? Know that I’m right there with you…pass the trash can.