July/August 2010  ISSN-1059-6518  Volume 23 Number 4

Seasickness or Mal de Mer

Seasickness, historically known as mal de mer, is a form of motion sickness caused by the pitching and heaving motions of a boat on the high seas.


In Isaac Asimov’s 1963 book, The Human Body, he relates a marvelous anecdote that describes the effects of seasickness perfectly. A steward on a large sailing vessel was trying to cheerfully reassure the passengers that no one ever dies of seasickness, that they would all make it through. One of the passengers noted, “Please – it’s only the hope of dying that is keeping me alive.”

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Nausea and Vomiting

January/February 2008  ISSN-1059-6518  Volume 21 Number 1

by Frank Hubbell, DO

“Um, I don’t feel so good. Yeah, I drank the water.”

We are constantly being harassed and bombarded by invaders: allergens and “stuff” in the air that are trying to get a foothold in us and cause problems. One of our first lines of defense is to simply expel these invaders and send them back to where they came from. These defenses consist of sneezing, to blow them out of our nose; coughing, to rid our lungs of the pests; having bouts of diarrhea to clear out our intestinal tract; and vomiting, to empty the stomach and upper small intestine. Sneezing, coughing, and diarrhea can be a bit of nuisance, but nausea and vomiting are things we would all like to avoid.

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