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How To Not Let Motion Sickness Ruin Your Holiday

Many people have to live with travel sickness all their life, others find ways to overcome it and outgrow their symptoms and some just choose to avoid travelling altogether.

If natural remedies, chewing gum and wearing wristbands haven’t helped you overcome your symptoms, then medication could be the answer you seek.

What causes motion sickness anyway?

Strangely enough, the ear is thought to be the cause of motion sickness. Conflicting signals inside the ear, eyes and sensory receptors can disturb how the brain interprets whether we are moving or not. Sometimes it may be better for the individual to look straight out the window towards the horizon, so they can help their brain, confirming they are in movement mode. This is often referred to as visual reaffirmation. Alternatively, it may work for others to switch off, close their eyes and go to sleep. 

Aeroplanes, theme park rides and boats can also cause motion or sea sickness. Not pleasant when you’re not well equipped with a sick bag. There is in fact no difference between motion sickness and sea sickness. 

The confusion between the eyes and ears may send a signal to the brain that you are immobile when really the vehicle is moving. This trickery of the sensory inputs can create a sense of dizziness. 

Some people experience sweating and getting short of breath, others can’t stop yawning or feel a headache coming on. All these symptoms are usually mild and temporary. However, if you experience more severe symptoms then professional advise should be sought with a doctor who deals with diseases of the ear, balance and nervous system.

Other types of motion sickness are more related to long journeys and the sudden braking when you come off the motorway. The morning’s breakfast was probably a good idea to avoid, in which case, this is just the body not used to having a full stomach and the forward jolting transition, from 70mph to 30mph. It can similarly create a sense of confusion for the brain as to whether the vehicle is stationary or not. 

Some people find having the window open a little helps them. The gentle breeze of moving air can help your brain understand that you are moving. Other natural remedies include:

  • Ginger tablets
  • Acupressure or acupuncture
  • Sitting by the window on a vehicle instead of in the middle
  • Avoid reading or playing on a gadget
  • Avoid eating before or during the journey

Medications for the treatment of motion sickness include the following:

  • Scopolamine is the most commonly prescribed medication for motion sickness and needs to be taken before the journey. It is also available as a patch.
  • Promethazine should be taken 2 hours before travel. It can however, cause drowsiness and dry mouth.
  • Cyclizine should be taken 30 minutes before the journey to be most effective. 
  • Dimenhydrinate should be taken every 4-8 hours.
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