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How Seasickness Works


Seasickness Prevention and Home Remedies
The windowless interior cabin of a cruise ship can lead to seasickness.
The windowless interior cabin of a cruise ship can lead to seasickness.
Rob Melnychuk/Getty Images

Your best bet for combating seasickness is to try and prevent it before it ever happens. Once it's started, it's more difficult to stop. If you have a history of motion sickness, you may want to avoid the smaller boats altogether. If you insist on going on a cruise, then book a cabin that's as close to the center of the ship as possible. This means up and down as well as back and forth. So if you're on a ship that has 12 decks, book a room on deck six or seven as close to the middle of the boat as you can. You'll be battling it out with other passengers worried about being seasick, so book early.

If you feel yourself getting nauseous, try stepping outside and focusing on the horizon. This can help orient the vestibular system. If you're in an interior room, you can try closing your eyes and lying down. Keep your head as still as possible. The symptoms may simply pass. Things like stuffy rooms and foul smelling odors can contribute to the nausea factor, so keep your room well-ventilated. Since stress can also play a part, try to stay calm if you feel symptoms rearing their ugly heads. Stay occupied by talking with cruise mates, but never read to take your mind off things. Reading can make your symptoms worse.

­Diet also plays a part. Avoid loading up at the buffet table. Small frequent meals are more likely to help you avoid getting sick. Stay away from refined breads, pastas and sugar, and stick with as many anti-oxidant filled fruits and vegetables as possible. Reduce the amount of red meat you consume in favor of lean fish and shellfish, which is never a problem aboard a cruise ship.

­Just like with your general nutrition, drink as much water as you can each day, at least six to eight 12-ounce glasses. There are a few herbs that cruisers are quick to recommend for a seasick-free experience. Ginger tablets, peppermint and milk thistle are all believed to help prevent and relieve seasickness. Some people swear by eating green apples.

One practical way to avoid seasickness is to choose to cruise in calm waters. The Gulf of Mexico and the waters of the Caribbean are notoriously calm compared to those of the Pacific Ocean. So booking a three-week cruise from Southern California to Alaska may not be a good idea if you're prone to motion sickness.


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