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1st Tandem Feeling Nauseous

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I just completed my first tandem skydive this past weekend. Overall, I enjoyed the experience and I want to eventually get my license. 

So during the free fall I felt fine, but when the canopy opened I started to feel nauseous and thought I was going to throw up. I stayed nauseous and light headed for the next couple minutes and then I started to feel fine. I'm pretty sure I had enough water/ food beforehand.

I never had a problem before with fainting or feeling nauseous, even on roller coasters.

I heard that this can be caused by sensory overload for newbies, or altitude sickness. I wonder if it could also be my harness because it felt pretty tight around my legs and hard to walk in. 

Any input would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you.

Seth

 

 

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I cannot tell you what happened to you, but I can tell you that I know folks who were nauseous under their first canopy rides (I went through static line course meaning my first 6 jumps were canopy-only from 1200m, no freefall). I myself had quite a problem with that for the first several jumps, whenever I would turn my canopy even slightly I'd get the nauseous feeling in my stomach all ready to throw up. It went away as I got used to the feeling.

I did however have problems with throwing up while driving in a car or riding roller-coaster rides so it was pretty "ordinary" for me to experience that under a canopy, but as I've said, I don't think it's that uncommon. Highly doubt it's altitude sickness. If I had to guess, I'd agree that it's probably sensory overload/experiencing new type of motion, and that it's something that will go away as you get used to the experience.

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If you don't get motion sickness in other parts of your life then there is a good chance that this will be limited to tandem jumps only for you. Also likely that this could have been a one time thing.

Tandems are more likely to induce nausea and motion sickness. Your body is overloaded with adrenaline. There is often movement under canopy that you are not initiating. Additionally tandem harnesses can limit blood flow to your lower extremities due to to a combination of fitment and body type. 

We include tandem jumps in our AFF progression, and I have students that experience nausea that never shows up again once they are on their solo jumps. 

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When I was starting my journey into skydiving, I was warned numerous times by the DZO and the staff that the tandem harnesses and the student rig harnesses can induce nausea due to pressure on the legs.  I never experienced anything other than crippling fear and bruised thighs ... but i have heard that nausea is not uncommon. 

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Not uncommon at all. I got it on my tandem and on a few jumps when doing my AFF, however they are AFTER the jumps, like 15-20 mins post jump. I jump in Canada and I have an off season of 4-5 months and my first jump back I get the same feeling just not as intense.

I personally think it has to do with pressure and decompression (maybe lack of oxygen as well I dunno), not sure how to explain it, but if I jump and depressurise my ears at altitude and when under canopy I feel nothing after BUT if I dont anything more than a 360 I feel it creeping on me. I have done 3 high pulls and same thing if I dont depressurize when opened I feel like shit.

I do get nauseous if I read something in a car, so could be related.

 

 

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Perfectly normal reaction the first time you do any new scary thing.

For most people, the nausia disappears after a few more jumps.

Altitude sickness ... errrr ... low oxygen density is rarely a problem during skydiving because few jump planes climb more 14,000 feet above sea level. For comparison, airline cabins are pressurized to 5,000 maybe 8,000 feet ASL, but much of that is to accommodate grandmothers with weak lungs. Time also affects hypoxia (shortage of oxygen), but jump-planes rarely fly more than 5 minutes above 10,000 feet, so that is not an issue for people with healthy lungs.

Yes, clearing your ears (Valsalva Maneuver) can reduce sinus pressure, reducing the risk of head aches, nausea, etc. I usually clear my ears two or three times on the way up and once after opening.

Low blood sugar can cause nausea ... even fainting ... after opening. We did not understand this until we had been doing tandems for a few years. Basically, any scary sensation causes your body to produce huge amounts of adrenaline and burn through blood sugars at a rapid rate. Once the skydive slows down ... after opening ... you relax, maybe even pass out. The cure is nibbling on snacks and sipping water all day.

Also consider that fear levels drop by half during every one of your first few jumps. Fear will never go away, but the curve will flatten out in a logarithmic way. If you get too relaxed, and no longer fear skydiving, then you should quit, because you have lost track of how dangerous the sport really is. Smart skydivers  are always a little afraid, but learn how to channel that fear into equipment checks, pre-planning, altitude checks, etc.

Older (pre-2000) tandem harnesses were more likely to put too much pressure on your stomach. Modern tandem student harnesses have lower belly bands, so are less likely to cause nausea. If you feel nauseous under a tandem, simply ask your instructor to loosen the belly band a bit after opening.

Many tandem students complain about leg straps being too tight, but fail to realize that all their weight is resting on those leg straps. Tough!

OTOH loose leg straps can bruise during opening shock, so better for your instructor to tighten leg straps a bit too much ... rather than lose you at opening time. 

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Nausea can be caused by your brain not being able to predict the direction of the next movement. That's why some people are motion sick as car passengers but not as drivers. On a roller coaster at least you get some visual clues :D

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