Monday, July 24, 2006

For What It's Worth - Hyperactive Gag Reflex Remedy

Here is a letter that we thought we'd pass on for those of you suffering from a hyperactive gag reflex. There must be a lot of you because we get numerous hits on our web page about this at .

"FYI in case it may help others:

I came across your web site a month ago while researching about the severe gag reflex problem that has prevented me from snorkelling for the past several years. I discovered only a week ago that my problem completely disappears if I wear a wristwatch while snorkelling! I'd stopped wearing watches in the water years ago because I'm rough on them and they unpredictably develop leaks.

The eureka moment for me came when a friend told me she'd worn "Sea-Band" on her wrists and experienced no sea-sickness on a recent cruise even though she's prone to nausea. Those bands are worn where one would place a wrist watch! Because of the neighbour's "Sea Band" experience, I bought a new water-tight watch which I now wear while snorkelling and much to my delight the gag problem has completely disappeared! "

My response: A study of many divers would be needed to show a significance.

I'll pass this on as a possibility.


Dr. Larry Stein, our resident diving dental consultant, has the following note about the gag reflex:
I saw the article on your site about the gag reflex. A number of compounding pharmacies make and "electrolyte tablet" that is supposed to suppress the gag reflex. It is supposed to be useful for giving anesthetic, taking impressions. swallowing tablets, performing oral hygiene.

This suppresses the reflex rather than eliminating it. I don't want to imagine the outcome of a diver with a suppressed reflex suddenly wearing off under water.

Here is a copy of some of the text from a pharmacy website and a journal reference:

Suppressing the Gag Reflex

The gag reflex can cause a patient considerable discomfort as well as interfere with dental procedures. An electrolyte tablet administered and retained intraorally a few minutes before the start of a procedure can suppress the gag reflex, allowing a mandibular block to be given with much greater ease, which further reduces the gagging reflex.

Tablets can be prescribed for home use for patients who can not properly perform oral hygiene procedures due to the gagging problem. Severe gaggers may need to repeat a dose in 15 to 20 minutes. (Dent Today. 1991 Dec;10(9):68-71)

Some patients and dentists prefer to use electrolyte lollipops.