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Seasickness on Steamships - 1910

Advertisement for Mothersill's Seasick Remedy (1911)

The subject of seasickness is an all-important one to eighty per cent, of the ocean travelers. It must be said that the boats of large tonnage have minimized this distressing ailment to a remarkahle degree; the bilge keels have also tended very materially to reduce this discomfort.

The causes and etiology are as yet imperfectly understood. Some hold the cause depends upon the altered or affected functions of the nervous centers, others refer the cause to the regurgitation of bile sons with particularly irritable stomachs or of highly sensitive nervous system are particularly liable to seasickness, while with certain individuals the symptoms of seasickness are exhibited simply by going on a vessel at a pier.

In this case, imagination is a potent factor. The fact that visual impressions predispose travelers to seasickness, suggests that a sensitive individual when on deck should shut his eyes.

Many preventive measures have been suggested, and numerous nostrums have heen sold for this into the stomach, and still others to irritation of the liver by the unusual movements of the body.

There is something to be said for each one of these alleged causes, but one thing is very certain, that when a landsman goes to sea, unless he is an excellent sailor, the movements of the ship and the shifting lines and surfaces unsettle his visual stability, as the different inclinations unsettle his muscular sense.

The consequent derangement thus caused reacts on the nerve centers and upon the visual sense, thus producing nausea and vomiting. Per-purpose, but preventive measures are practically limited to the regulation of diet before a voyage.

Food for some days previous to sailing should be plentiful, but of a light and nutritious character; food should not be taken for at least five or six hours hefore going on board.

The bowels should be kept open with a saline aperient water or by calomel. If you are susceptible to seasickness always get as near the center of the dining saloon as possible, and try to get as near the companionway as possible. Grape-fruit, limes, etc., are excellent in cases of seasickness, also brandy and ice in small doses.

Champagne is recommended by many doctors for this ailment; it should be taken in small doses, using a champagne tap. Use Hunyadi or Apenta water freely or laxative salts. A hot-water bag placed at the pit of the stomach is sometimes efficacious.

Three or four drops of chloroform on a lump of sugar often prevents a bad attack of illness. Considerable doses of sodium bromide and antipyrine often give relief. The best all-around remedy is chlorobrom; this is a combination of chloramide and potassium bromide. It should be noted that this is not chloroform.

Ammonium bromide is often efficacious. Great care should be used in eating if you are disposed to seasickness. All greasy meats, pastry, etc., should be eschewed.

Ham and bacon, pork in all forms, should be left severely alone. Of all beverages, beer and stout are undoubtedly the worst for those who are predisposed to seasickness. Remain on deck as much as possible if you feel ill, and get as far away from your neighbors who are ill as space will permit.

Remember that seasickness is only a matter of two or three days in most cases; in the majority of instances symptoms are all over by the third day, and by the fourth day the traveler could visit the steerage with impunity. Some travelers, however, are always Kick from port to port, and they naturally dread the voyage intensely.

There is very little hope for the comfort of people who are so afflicted. A little aromatic ammonia or cologne water is often very pleasant in cases of illness.

The ship's doctor can do very little to relieve passengers who are seasick. If they knew of a really successful remedy, they would hardly be in the merchant marine service, as they would be enabled to put a really reliable preparation on the market with great profit to themselves.

One remedy which has often been recommended is morphine in small doses, say a fiftieth of a grain. The writer, however, remembers an instance when one-fiftieth of a grain of morphine was used and the traveler who took it was the only one sick out of over five hundred passengers. Enough has been said about this disagreeable concomitant of the sea, except to give a few more "remedies":

Mosel-Laval 6e recommends as a remedy for seasickness the following preparation :
Menthol 0.1 gramme.
Cocaine hydrochloride 0.2 gramme.
Alcohol 60.0 grammesi
Sirup 30.0 grammes.

A dessertspoonful to be taken at Intervals of half an hour.

The following is recommended by a physician, as a preparatory treatment, to be begun before the trouble manifests its presence :

Sodium bromide 4 drachmsi
Ammonium bromide 2 drachmsi
Peppermint water 3 ounces.

A teaspoonful before meals and at bed time. Begin treatment three days before going on board. When preparatory treatment has been neglected and the difficulty fully established. Put a teaspoonful in half a tumblerful of water, add a drop of fluid extract of ipecac, and give a teaspoonful every five minutesi It is said to generally relieve in less than half an hour.

Another doctor recommends the following:
Oxalate of cerium.... 2 grains. Tincture valerian, am-
moniated 1 drachm. Water 1 ounce. Take at one dose.

A German doctor gives the following, not as an absolute preventive, but as producing good results :

Sulphate of atropine .. IA grain. Sulphate of strychnine % grain. Peppermint water .... 10 fl. drachms.

Fifteen minims of this solution is said to give a patient ease within half an hour of the time it is used hypodermically. The doctor does not depend wholly upon the above formula, but falls hack on the following when the other fails him :

Caffeine 64 grains.
Salicylate of sodium 48 grainsi
Distilled water. 160 minims.

A solution of the above is to he made by the aid of a gentle heati The remedy is administered hypodermically, the same as the former solution.

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1910 Travel Guide by Scientifc American

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