A Doctor’s Advice on how to Combat Seasickness

Jean-Yves Chauve is a doctor who specialises in providing remote medical assistance to sailors and boat racers.

He is particularly noted for having guided Bertrand de Broc by radio in the second VendéeDr. CHAUVRE Globe. De Broc succeeded in stitching up his own tongue with the help of Dr. Chauve, which had been deeply wounded after an accident.

For seven years, Dr. Chauve has been available to aid participants in the Vendée-Globe race, as the official race doctor. He first held the position in 1989.

During this race, the doctor devotes himself to being contactable and responsive at all times, in case of emergency.

As he is the unofficial “sailing doctor”, we asked Dr. Chauvre for advice on how to tackle seasickness…

Think there’s nothing you can do about seasickness? Think again!

The most important advice is to avoid four things: Fatigue, hunger, cold and… nerves!

Tips for people who are prone to seasickness:

  • Get a good night’s sleep on board rather than spending time out at sea in the evening after a tiring journey. Take any chance you can to sleep while on board.Rocky water
  • Avoid heavy meals, instead favour easy-to-digest snacks.
  • Drink plenty of water – do not forget to stay well-hydrated.
  • It is a good idea to dress in clothes that are a little heavier than you need when at the port. The atmosphere is always a bit cooler out at sea, so it’s best to be prepared.
  • As for calming your nerves, the best way to combat them is to stay active on board. If you are new to sailing, get into the habit of taking small steps during the first few days in order to facilitate adaptation.

The best place to feel good:

Outside, in the back where the movements of the boat are less pronounced.

Is there any medicine available for seasickness?

Many treatments exist. Cinnarizine-based products are effective without too many side effects. Beware of contraindications.

It is best to talk to your doctor and test the product before going out to sea.

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