Nothing can ruin a day out diving on a boat like seasickness! Instead of the gentle rocking motion relaxing you and allowing some well earned shut-eye in the sun, you spend the day praying to God that the boat can return to the jetty and allow you the relief of land beneath your feet. This month we ask our medical experts what causes this and more importantly how to prevent or control it once it takes hold.
When you are on a boat your body and eyes perceive a different situation to the one detected by your inner ears, this irritates the balance centre’s of the brain and causes a wide range of symptoms, most commonly called seasickness.
In its mild form seasickness results in yawning and a feeling of sleepiness but in its more aggressive state it can progress into excess sweating, nausea and vomiting. A rough sea or inexperienced skipper can also exacerbate this.
Staying in the open air and gazing at the horizon can help to alleviate symptoms whilst sitting huddled in the cabin, reading a book or limiting your visual field will only make it worse. Engaging in anything like swimming or diving can actually provide a welcome escape from the suffering and the equipment preparation can also be an effective distraction.
Eating ginger or slowly sucking a lemon will often help with the queasiness but there are also commercially available medical preparations which can prevent seasickness even occurring if chosen well and taken properly!
It is possible that the condition will actually improve naturally…if the feelings can be endured, although once returning to land the rocking sensation may continue for a while!
Should you suffer from seasickness there is no need to be shy or embarrassed as it affects the majority of people on their first ever journey out to sea and someone perfectly at home on a small sailing boat may find themselves wracked with nausea on a larger motorized vessel. Experienced sailors, pilots and astronauts can all suffer from motion sickness, the most important thing is that it is managed well enough so that it does not spoil your diving holiday
Dr. Adel Taher & Dr. Ahmed Sakr: your diving docs
If you have any medical queries please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org. The most interesting one will be discussed in our next issue.
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