Sea sickness treatment

Sea sickness treatmentAmong the many passengers on board subjected to about the same conditions, the degree of sea-sickness is found to vary from mere discomfort to great agony. There is a like diversity of symptoms among different persons but for the same person at different times under like conditions the symptoms do not vary generally, but exceptionally there are sometimes great differences.

The characteristic seasickness symptoms are headache, vertigo, nausea, pale, cool, moist skin, muscular relaxation, increased flow of saliva, sunken features, and disagreeable hallucinations of the senses of taste and smell.

In fact, the symptoms are nearly the same as are caused by the operation of an ordinary emetic. The constipation is so obstinate that frequently there is no passage from the bowels at all for several days, nor even weeks, together. Sometimes constipation is the only symptom.

Only the symptoms that are somewhat general and constant will be regarded as interesting; because they furnish indications as to treatment, and because they shed some light on some of the mysterious processes of that sequence of events which intervenes between motion at the beginning and illness at the end.

Some symptoms that have been observed by me have not been noted, because they seemed inconstant and irregular, and because I was unable to find a meaning to them. It is important to bear in mind the occasional occurrence of these erratic manifestations. Some of them are extraordinary. As a rule, every case of illness which I could not otherwise account for was set down as sea-sickness, however much it may have differed from the typical seasick case. With confidence in the conclusion, I could assure the patient that he would be all right when we got into smooth water or on shore. During the year I made no mistake in these cases.

When sea-sick, little or much, the senses of smell and taste are in very many cases erroneous. Passengers, who on shore are reliable judges of the qualities of foods, drinks, and the art of cooking, will on the ship sometimes make most absurd complaints and criticisms in respect of qualities and preparation of foods. The illusions of taste and smell are so complete that an ordinary persuasive effort will generally fail to correct them, and many passengers leave a ship ever afterwards feeling quite sure that inferior wines were provided under cover of respectable labels; that the steward's stores were of inferior quality and got at low prices for the sake of economy; and that cheap and incompetent cooks were employed. Coffee and tea are subjects of eshecial criticism at sea. This was abundantly observed by me on a cruise particularly because my own sense of taste was so erratic that coffee and tea seemed such abominable stuffs to me that, fond as I was of them on shore, I early in the year abandoned their use on the ship.

when the ship lay quietly in still water fast to the dock, the coffee and tea were without the apparent objectionable taste. In consequence of occasional complaints I sometimes inspected the steward's stores, in fact was sometimes challenged to do so, and to examine the food after it had reached the table in the steerage department. The invariable conclusion was that such complaints on the ship were based upon illusions of the senses of taste and smell. The illusions of smell are often observable. A person, not having been at sea, going on board on the wharf, will as a rule find nothing in the forrn of offensive odors. But let the same person go on a voyage on the same ship, and when affected for a time by the motions, the odors, some or all, will seem to him offensive, and will really serve as an additional cause to make him sicker.

The offensiveness is entirely subjective. The illusion is somewhat persistent for a variable length of time after the voyage. That is, let the person visit the ship; the odors in the first instance not offensive, then on the voyage offensive, will at time of final visit seem still offensive. With the real odors the person has acquired the habit of associating the offensive subjective constituent of the illusion, and by virtue of such habit still continues to do so.

The capriciousness of the patient's sensations is sometimes still worse than I have so far represented it. For it is even true that tastes and odors agreeable in health are disagreeable when sea-sick, and contribute to intensify such illness.

Aside from this practical aspect of the topic, it has an item of signification that is interesting, namely, that the subjective side of the illusion (a confusion of an objective with a subjective sensation) indicates that in sea-sickness the brain is involved. In my opinion (based on reasons appearing elsewhere) this brain disturbance is dependent on a disturbance of brain circulation.

Another symptom very generally present has the same significance. This is the indisposition, in fact the inability, to make progress in study. Those who, foreseeing the amount of leisure time they will have, take with them books to study, literary or scientific work to be done, find, as a rule with few exceptions, that they make little
or no progress in their work even if they make the effort. It is difficult enough for the average passenger to engage in easy reading, and there are enough who cannot do that. In general, what is read is very imperfectly recollected. During the cerebral disturbance the recording apparatus does not work properly. The experienced well know that, however sea­sick a passenger, and however firmly he resolves never to go to sea again, in a few days, even a few hours, his recollection of sea-sickness is already dim ; and in a few months, or in the next season, he is as willing to go to sea again.

Ship events and ship acquaintances are easily forgotten by those who are sea-sick. Many passengers, even when slightly sea-sick, have a persistent bad taste. It is subjective. I was never without it, except on very smooth sea. It was more offensive when hungry than after eating. Worst on rising in the morning.

Seasickness Treatment - The preceding symptoms will be reduced to a minimum by keeping the blood saturated with nutritive material as elsewhere directed.

Another annoying symptom, often the only one present, and the subject therefore nearly well, is a very slight headache. In describing it the person may say he feels as if he has a head, or feels the presence of his head. The sedative effect of the recumbent position with eyes closed will generally enable one to evade the consciousness of this sensation.