View Full Version : Sea sick while swimming?

September 25th, 2010, 08:13 PM
I have competed in a handful of short ocean races - and love them. This summer I attempted to swim around Key West (12.5miles) but was pulled out only a 1/3 of the way around because I had been throwing up for over an hour. I felt like I was motion sick - nothing seemed to help settle my stomach. My kayaker tried giving me water, soda, solid food, jelly food, and we even tried Zofran. We had encountered this problem in the training but I was hoping I could just make it most of the way around before I got sick. The waves had another plan for me, and I started feeling sick within 20 minutes of the swim (projected to take me 6 hours).

Was I sea sick? Was it anxiety that turned my stomach? Is there a certain food I should be trying? How do I fix this so I can make it around next year?

I appreciate any advice. Thank you!
Nicole G

September 26th, 2010, 10:06 PM
In past threads on this forum many swimmers have recommended ginger pills before the swim to prevent motion sickness. I have not tried then myself

September 26th, 2010, 11:09 PM
crystallized ginger fro two days before the swim and ginger tea mixed in for feeds

September 27th, 2010, 02:52 PM
I am very sensitive to sea sickness. Before just a mile ocean swim I take Dramamine. Fortunately, it doesn't make me sleepy. I don't know what I would do if I was crazy enough to swim a really long event in open water

September 27th, 2010, 07:54 PM
Got seasick during a 5 mile swim a few years ago. Ginger products as the others mentioned helped me as well. I get ginger extract (comes in a medicine dropper type bottle) and throw a dropper full into a bottle of water (16-20 oz). I'll drink a bottle or two of this mix per day before an o.w. swim. If it's a short swim, such as a mile, I'll drink a bottle a couple hours before the start. On my second five miler this year, I gave the kayaker the ginger/water mix to hand me when we'd hit shoals. It worked--never got seasick once... ridiculously slow I was... but not seasick!

September 29th, 2010, 06:27 PM
Will ginger ale help?

September 29th, 2010, 07:12 PM
For me, it just happens. I can't predict when or why. It doesn't happen often, but when it comes, it sucks.

I mock recipies that prevent or cure. Perhaps it's because they don't work for me.

I know that this sounds trite, but I just swim through it. It really sucks.

September 29th, 2010, 11:51 PM
Will ginger ale help?

Only if its got real ginger in it. Much of the 'ginger' ale sold in the US does NOT have real ginger in it.

Take a ginger pill or buy ginger from an asian food store and eat some. Chaos's dosing is probably best. I used to take ginger when I flew in the Air Force and it helped immensely. (If it was my stomach; if my balance/eyes were off, then it was a middle-ear prob and I took aspirin.)

September 30th, 2010, 09:24 AM
I have had really bad sea sickness as well. My first 10k i thew up the hole race. One man on the message board that I talk with a lot and is very wise told me to take ginger. He said to take some the night before and then before you race. I talked with my doc also about this and he said the only way to be safe is to take the ginger. He said you can prevent it but once it happens taking medication once your sick will not do anything. so prevent is the way to go. now every time even when I am doing pool stuff I take ginger just because I have gotten sick in the pool. I have been also trying things in feedings because next year I am doing the English channel and they will pull you out if you get sick . With all the feedings one thing i learned is always eat the same thing you will one your race. So every morning before I swim I eat the same thing. It boring but you know you wont get sick. You can do coke or pop but you have to make it flat. All the fizz can cause you to throw up as well. I also found these things called ginger chews and I suck on them when I feel the sickness coming on in a race. The other thing i some people say to eat fruit before you swim. I cant, I can only do carbs. the Fruit has to much acid in it that makes me throw up. I took me a while to figure that out so it might be something your eating before you swim. Also with gels if you don't drink them with water they don't break down as easy and can make you really sick. I cant even do them with water. My body dose not do well on gels. Good luck to you! this is the worst thing to get sick. but the ginger really works. I am one that always runs to meds first and though there was no way ginger would work but it does. Hope your next swim is throw up free!:)

September 27th, 2012, 08:52 PM
I used to get very seasick from the waves in the ocean. I tried a ginger pill just before getting in and it worked. I read somewhere that you should also take one the night before and the morning of your swim. My experience is that that isn't necessary. You just need to take a pill just before you get in. Just as ginger ale can help a vomiting person to stop vomiting if taken during the problem, the ginger needs to be in your stomach when the motion sickness is happening (in my humble opinion).

Kevin in MD
October 1st, 2012, 11:19 AM
I have used ginger before and while it seems to help the actual vomiting, it did nothing for the nausea for me. I just couldn't put anything else in my stomach and had to stop.

There is a scopolamine pill available that I may consider as backup in a long swim. It works more quickly than the patches.

October 1st, 2012, 01:24 PM
I also need to stay away from the boat engine fumes, which can make me nauseous.

October 1st, 2012, 05:34 PM
I go with meclizine for any distance over 10k. Going to try ginger whilst training next summer ...

Perhaps some extra Folic Acid and B-6 could help.

Butch Cameron
November 9th, 2012, 08:43 PM
It happens to me in the pool, I swim with my eyes closed it helps ,I use a tethered swimming leash to keep it at bay :)imho

November 9th, 2012, 09:56 PM
It happens to me in the pool, I swim with my eyes closed it helps ,I use a tethered swimming leash to keep it at bay :)imho

I have never bought into the swimming with my eyes closed thing because frankly knowing my luck I'd run into something and lose training time. But I never thought about using a tether.

November 28th, 2012, 03:05 PM
Near the finish in the pensacola 3-mile bridge swim, I swam a fair distance in some shallow area which had light penetrate to the bottom.

The bottom had shadows from sunlight and very light chop or wave action. It played havoc with me in a very short distance. ...felt like seasickness at the finish.

I never felt this reaction in an outdoor pool with its shadows and do think the depth, e.g. two feet, and visibilty, e.g. crystal clear, had an impact.

November 28th, 2012, 03:07 PM
the advice for a 'day before' dosing is primarily to acclimate the patient & GI tract to the bonine itself.