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Motion Sickness Prevention and Treatment

It's fair to say that some people who go on diving trips need to take anti seasickness tablets to avoid vomiting on the boat.

We explain why it's dangerous to go scuba diving if you feel seasick and what medications are available to prevent motion sickness for divers.

What Does the Diving Doctor at DAN Say?

Pelagism (unmanaged seasickness) is a menace - especially for divers who enjoy travelling to the best diving spots in the world.

So, is it dangerous to scuba dive if you feel drowsy... and what are the medical options for preventing nausea and queasiness at sea?

Here's the thing:

There is no magic cure that instantly removes sea sickness symptoms.

Furthermore, vomiting causes dehydration. Hence, it increases fatigue and the risk factors for decompression illness (DCI).

Pro Tip: Even though vomiting through a scuba regulator underwater is possible, it can result in a blockage of the mouthpiece. It can also lead to the inhalation of sea water, anxiety, and a severe panic attack, and a rapid ascent in the worst cases.

Tips for Preventing Seasickness

In fact, it is the "motion" and not the "sea" that causes seasickness symptoms to occur in some individuals. With scuba divers, they're likely to feel nauseated and dizzy on the dive boat. Yet, most of the manifestations disappear as soon as a seasick diver starts to descend in the water.

By and large, it's much easier to prevent seasickness than to treat it. It's also important to avoid dehydration (e.g. from excessive vomiting).

Thus, even though there are some medications to avoid while scuba diving, taking preventative measures before you start to feel unwell can improve the overall experience.

In addition, motion sickness can also occur while riding in a car or flying in an airplane. In short, some methods of transportation disturb the motion-sensing organs located inside the inner ear.

The result?

The brain gets conflicting signals from more than one sensory organ. So, apart from choosing to dive from a bigger boat that will be more stable in the water, here are are few extra tips to help scuba divers avoid seasickness:

Pro Tip: Medical experts advise people not to go scuba diving if they are suffering from the effects of seasickness. Plus, women, young children, and people who suffer from migraines have an increased likelihood of experiencing motion sickness.

Seasickness Treatment and Natural Remedies

Divers can buy over-the-counter anti-nausea or seasickness medications. Even though they may cause drowsiness, they help to suppress the nerve pathways between the brain and the control center.

Typical examples include:

Medical patches, like Transderm Scop, or the MQ Motion Sickness Patch for boat rides, release a drug that reduces the activity of the inner ear nerve fibers.

But, most medication and pills need some hours to take effect. Always follow the manufacturer’s safety guidelines.

But wait - there's more:

You could buy Sea-Band tablets or drug free nausea relief wristbands online at Amazon. They can be a comforting answer to seasickness for scuba divers.

If not, you can try to soothe your stomach using natural seasickness remedies, such as ginger tea, ginger ale, or ginger candy.

Pro Tip: If a scuba diver uses sea sickness medications they should avoid deep dives because they may enhance the effects of nitrogen narcosis. It is important to be aware of this, and ascend to shallower depths if narcosis becomes apparent.

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