Sea Sickness, an affection attended with nausea and vomiting, produced by the motion of a vessel at sea. Similar symptoms are also produced by swinging, waltzing, and riding backward in a coach; but the greater and more regular oscillations of a ship have a stronger effect upon the nervous system. The susceptibility to this malady varies greatly; some persons never experience nausea from this cause; others may only suffer a few hours during a voyage of several days; while still others are almost constantly sick while aboard ship, and fatal cases have been known. The premonitory symptoms are vertigo and sometimes headache, and a peculiar feeling of "sinking" and distress at the pit of the stomach. Nausea soon appears, attended by distressing and convulsive vomiting and frequently diarrhoea. It is more likely to attack those who are debilitated, or who have suffered nervous exhaustion or excitement consequent upon making preparations for the voyage, especially if there has been imprudence in taking food.
Dr.Chapman, who wrote a pamphlet "On Sea Sickness, its Nature and Treatment" (London, 1864), is of opinion that "the motions of the vessel cause the accumulation of an undue amount of blood in the nervous centres along the back, and especially in those segments of the spinal cord related to the stomach and the muscles concerned in vomiting." The remedy which he asserts is the. most scientific and efficacious is the application of ice bags to the spinal column, which act, according to his theory, as a sedative. They are made of thin caoutchouc, and are worn by the patient while walking about in ordinary apparel. Dr. For-dyce Barker, in a pamphlet on sea sickness, advises the observance of the following rules, which are principally preventive. In short passages over rough water, those who are susceptible should make a hearty meal not more than two or three hours before going on board, and should keep as near as possible to the centre of the vessel, and lie down before she gets under way. The person should be well covered and shielded as much as possible from disagreeable sights and smells. For ocean passages similar care as to location should be observed in selecting berths.
As a general rule of prevention, Dr. Barker advises regular and hearty eating in bed for one or two days, and during the voyage to take coffee or tea or some drink and food before rising in the morning. There is often a tendency to constipation, which may be overcome by the use of laxatives. During an attack, especially if accompanied by diarrhoea, medicines similar to those used in cholera morbus may be taken, as tincture of camphor, tincture of lavender combined with tincture of opium and tincture of capsicum, or a few drops of chloroform. Stimulating liniments may be applied to the pit of the stomach. If during the voyage the weather becomes rough, it is advisable to go to bed before getting sick.