Seasickness Remedies That Work Fast | Top 13 Strategies
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Best Seasickness Remedies

Seasickness, also called mal de mer, comes in many forms if you want to sound fancy, ranging from visual disorientation and stomach cramps to green complexions and losing your lunch, of course.

By the movements of the waves, our body posture gets thrown off balance. Even the toughest of us can experience a sudden bout of nausea under combinations of the right (or wrong) circumstances, like me, being around boats all my life.

Sometimes even the rough waters and ocean swells can not be handled by both the strongest stomachs and hardiest constitutions. And there are ways to keep this under control if you have problems with queasiness or gaining control of your sea legs in general.

Seasickness remedies very differently for everyone and should be carried onboard as part of the emergency kit of your boat.

Medicines and treatments for seasickness vary from natural remedies for more serious cases to doctor-prescribed ones.

But prevention here is key. You need to be on top of preserving hydration and removing electrolytes to avoid seasickness. Keeping your blood sugar with regular snacks stable. These are all ways to prevent seasickness in the first place from occurring.

And then, motion sickness exists. Don’t let it ruin a fishing trip or end an enjoyable time on the water by continually going to the toilet of your boat! Before the start of seasickness, turn to these remedies if you feel queasy quickly.

Natural Seasickness Remedies

These are the most time-tested if you prefer good old-fashioned, all-natural remedies for seasickness. For me, grabbing a small snack sometimes works as a banana or crackers. I need something stronger at other times. First, try each remedy for yourself and see whether it relieves your symptoms.

1. Electrolytes

Bananas, like some vitamin blends such as Pedialyte, provide a great source of potassium. Gatorade and most sports drinks, however, are not ideal for electrolyte replenishment; they lack Vitamin C! Try adding the Emergen-C drink mix to the water in place of a sports drink. Check Amazon.

2. Acupressure Wristbands

Acupressure wristbands contain a small bead placed at a pressure point on the inside of your wrist. These wristbands work best as a preventive but can take effect quickly after wearing for three to five minutes.

Although many manufacturers can be found, Sea-Bands are a preferred brand name in local drugstores and are easily found over the counter, but they are considered a natural remedy. They come in wrist sizes for children and are safe for pregnant mothers as well! Check Amazon.

3. Fresh Apples

In general, green apples are good for our digestive system, but an apple a day keeps the seasickness away in this case. They offer green apple plates even on cruise lines as part of room service menus.

4. Staring at the Horizon

Keeping a fixed gaze on the horizon can quite well prevent seasickness. Taking the helm also works for me! It sounds like a task that is simple enough, but elsewhere, it keeps my focus. But when you see nothing but flashing beacons and lights, navigating at night can prove more difficult, so it is best to rely on something else.

5. Saltines

There’s something about crackers that they always do for me. Perhaps it’s just having a bit of nutrition and something salty to digest in my stomach. But it’s one of my simple methods for go-to. I still carry crackers, whether saltine or sandwich crackers, onboard the ships.

6. Ginger Root

Ginger roots provide an outstanding natural seasickness remedy. You can find available ginger candies or ginger teas and in swallowable pills and capsules for those who find the taste of ginger unattractive and bitter. Some swear by it, but for me, it doesn’t work a lot.
Check Amazon for Ginger Root.

  1. Nutrition Bars

I recently heard from some of my sailing buddies about Anchor Nutrition Bars. They swear by them and claim that they taste pretty good indeed. For yourself, try them out!

Over-the-Counter Cures for Seasickness

I would have a backup plan in case they can’t curb your nausea, in addition to all the natural remedies listed above. But before visiting your doctor and moving on to prescriptions, try over the counter drugs and antihistamines. While we think of antihistamines as blockers of allergens and medicines, they block our allergies by helping our brain to block signals. And these are the same signs telling us that we’re nauseous.

Keep in mind, of course, that most over-the-counter medications for your little ones also come in children’s doses. But always consult the doctor or pediatrician of your child as they can have allergic reactions or unexpected side effects such as hyperactivity!

8. Benadryl

Another antihistamine to try that can work is Benadryl. Before taking a boat ride into the pollen-ridden wind with bad allergies, I use this to take it and it also helped take away any seasickness.

Effectiveness: Take 1 hour before the journey.

Side effects: Mainly, drowsiness.

9. Dramamine

Dramamine is a very common medicine and can be obtained in emergencies on Amazon or at the nearest drugstore. Some people say that Dramamine will make things worse if you’re still feeling sick! This is why, over Dramamine, most prefer Bonine (#9).

Effectiveness: Take effect for 30 minutes.

Side Effects: It can also make you lightheaded and drowsy. And I’m sorry, cruisers with booze! Not recommended for alcohol consumption.

10. Bonine

For travelers influenced by the drowsiness that Dramamine brings, Bonine chewable tablets make a safer option. For kids who have not quite mastered swallowing pills, being chewable is also great.

Effectiveness: Takes 1 hour before departure. A full day lasts, some passengers say two!

Side Effects: Sleepiness (enhanced with alcohol consumption).

Prescription Drugs for Seasickness

Hopefully, your seasickness will never reach higher levels, but you may need a higher dose of drugs from your doctor when everything else fails. This is something that you would need to pay a visit to the office to properly talk about.

11. Ephedrine

For asthma patients or those with shortness of breath, ephedrine alone is used to treat low blood pressure and serves as a stimulant. Although, again, it works with extreme cases of seasickness when used with Promethazine.

Effectiveness: 15-20 minutes to take effect, much like Promethazine. It lasts 4 to 6 hours as well.

Side Effects: Some consider light drinking with a glass of wine or one beer okay, just don’t overdo it!

12. Scopolamine patch

Maybe you’ve seen these patches before. Placed behind the ears, they are (the inner ear is a crucial part of our equilibrium). For longer overnight boating trips, passengers can request patches from physicians. For cruise ship vacations as well, I highly recommend them! The only drawback is that these are preventive and at the moment you start to feel nauseous, they can not simply be placed behind the ear.

Effectiveness: Has a duration of up to 3 days.

Side effects: Passengers may experience blurred vision, some drowsiness, some dizziness, and dry mouth… as a starting point. Anxiety, hallucinations, and even psychosis have worse side effects. No joke, yes!

13. Promethazine

Promethazine is usually an allergy relief medication, often prescribed together with the drug ephedrine (see remedy #13) and taken together to combat nausea. But each has its side effects.

Effectiveness: Allow 20 minutes or so to take effect. It should last somewhere between 4 and 6 hours, sometimes longer.

Side Effects: A list of side effects I can’t even list here for this one. But sleepiness and drowsiness are reported mainly by other seasick passengers.

Treating Kids for Seasickness

Due to some form of motion sickness, children typically become nauseous. During long car trips when I was younger, I read, often leading to nausea. I would have to take breaks and focus my eyes on the road or the horizon of distant cityscapes. Contrary to this, older generations are also less prone to seasickness.

Pets can also toss their kibble, especially if they are not used at all to boating. Make sure you know how to keep your pet safe in the water and consult your veterinarian if you need to.

Last Resort

Try to do it in a bucket if you do feel the need to vomit. This seems to be obvious, but some boaters ask you to head to the stern of the boat. That’s all right, too, but a bottle is better, so you don’t fall overboard unintentionally leaning your head out. You may be dizzy and there is already a disadvantage to your balance.

And I hate to tell you, but afterward, some passengers feel better. We don’t like doing it, and maybe you want to fight it, but listen to the needs of your body, too. Do not resist if it comes up; it could prolong the inevitable!

Ask Your Doctor

To see how the body responds, I suggest trying these motion-sickness treatments on land first. I recommend taking a dose a good 12 hours before going out for over-the-counter and prescription drugs. If you don’t give your bloodstream time to absorb it, you might not be able to keep the medicine down when you need it most.

Finally, every drug has side effects and your physician needs to properly vet it, not me! Before taking them for yourself, please use drugs with caution and understand these side effects!

I suggest taking a long boat ride or two to test your stomach acclimatization or test to see how it reacts to heavy seas if you are still new to water and boat activities. Some passengers can ride rough waves without a thought, as I mentioned earlier, and then one day it hits them out of the blue. Before seasickness sets in, the crucial part is getting the requisite things on board and understanding the preventive steps.

John Allen

With more than a decade of experience cruising the lakes in my Crestliner Grand Cayman pontoon boat and my Boston Whaler, I now want to share everything I've learned with my community here at Boating Hub.

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