A comment prompted this post to follow up my recent post about cruising
The conversation went like this:
Rhonda Gales (@RhondaGales) blogger at Mother 2 Mother
Your photos are great! I want to do a cruise to Alaska next year, but I’m a little leery. The last cruise that I took, I was sea sick the entire cruise. Any advice on how to avoid it this time, and thanks for sharing on Sunday’s Best.
Thanks Rhonda we’ve also cruised to Alaska, it was beautiful. You might look for a facility offering desensitization training for motion sickness. Otherwise drugs work but can cause unpleasant side effects. Talk to your doctor.
Thanks for your advice. Would love to see pictures of your Alaska Cruise. This post was quite popular with my readers.
What is motion sickness?
Motion sickness is the unpleasant sensation of motion, either with or without motion actually occurring. Those of us prone to it wonder why some people seek out experiences like roller coasters. Symptoms include
- nausea with or without vomiting
- general unwell feeling
Fear of motion sickness causes people to forgo activities like airplane travel, boating, amusement park rides, and car trips. But sometimes these activities are unavoidable or people just want to enjoy them.
Cruising Alaska’s Inside Passage
Preventing motion sickness
If you don’t want to completely forgo activities that might cause motion sickness, manipulating the situation to minimize or change the motion can help.
Sitting toward the front of a vehicle and facing forward will help.
- Airplanes- sit over the wings
- Boat- sit level with the water facing the waves
- Bus/Van/Car- nearest the front
- Train- lowest level
Use your eyes
- Don’t read
- Focus on the horizon if possible.
- Keep eyes closed (especially if not able to see the horizon) and/or wear sunglasses.
Maintain general wellness
- Be rested, sleep if possible
- Stay hydrated, eat lightly
- Avoid alcohol
- Keep the environment well ventilated, avoid strong smells
- Listen to soothing music
Using medications for motion sickness
One option is to use medication, either for prevention or to treat the symptoms once they occur (not as effective.)
Prevention- using the patch
There are herbal patches but this one is prescription only, and most likely to be effective.
Transdermal Scopolamine patch (Transderm-Scop)
- Apply behind one ear at least 4 hours before travel
- Replace patch every 72 hours
Other prescription medication
Promethazine (Phenergan) for nausea and vomiting
Available OTC- over the counter
(These affiliate links are for information only and are not a recommendation to use unless advised by your personal physician.)
Habituation and Desensitization
The more I travel , the less likely I am to suffer motion sickness without using drugs. I use the tips above- I don’t read in the car, I sit in the front of a bus. If an airplane encounters turbulence, I lean back, close my eyes, and direct the cool air toward me. I have gradually become habituated to motion, although I still do not ride roller coasters.
There are programs available to desensitize people to motion; the military uses these since pilots and sailors will constantly be exposed to motion and must be able to function.
A former NASA flight surgeon and fighter pilot developed such a method, naming it after himself. Dr. Sam Puma developed the Puma Method.
“The PUMA METHOD consists of a series of simple yet very effective warm-up and conditioning exercises.
These exercises raise your tolerance level to a variety of motion sickness producing activities such as reading in a moving vehicle, riding in a small boat or cruise ship, or flying in an airplane. This process is called habituation.
The exercises use your body’s own habituation mechanism to prevent motion sickness. You don’t need any drugs, so there are no negative side effects.”
(quote from the website)
(This is an affiliate link to the product. Otherwise, I have no personal, professional, or financial connection to Dr. Puma or the Puma Method.)
This article from Scientific American explains how NASA and the U.S. Navy are finding new ways to help everyone overcome motion sickness.
“Researchers and those who work with pilots and the military’s most frequent flyers, are especially keen to find better ways to treat motion sickness. And the many civilians who face nausea in cars, planes, boats or even the tamest amusement park rides would welcome a cure without the common side effects of current medications, such as sleepiness, or the questionable efficacy of alternative treatments, such as pressure bracelets.
The path to those ends remains bumpy and filled with more than a few green faces, but new research is closer to finding the best treatments to keep both side effects and lunch down.”
The food as well as the dining service was always excellent, and one of our favorite parts of the cruise.
If you didn’t visit it already, you may want to read my previous post-
Travel comments please
Please share your cruise experiences, good or bad. How have you coped with motion sickness on any trip? I may share some of your insights in a future post.
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How to dress for an Alaskan cruise
Blogger Cathy Lawdanski offers these tips on what to pack for an Alaskan cruise, which is not as easy as packing for a warm weather cruise. Read her helpful tips based on her experience at this link.