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Motion Sickness (Travel Sickness)
Motion sickness or travel sickness is a common condition. To start, symptoms may include dizzy spells or nausea while traveling. The unusual movements send mixed and excessive signals to the position sensors of the brain. Thus, motion sickness may occur. There are motion sickness prescription available.
Motion Sickness in Children
Many children experience motion sickness. Most times, it is caused when they focus on a person or object inside the vehicle. In brief, while riding as a passenger in a car, balance mechanisms send signals that tell the brain that they are moving. Also, the balance mechanisms in the inner ear trigger a set of signals to send messages contrary to signals from your eyes. Consequently, confused signals to the brain cause motion sickness.
Other triggers for motion sickness are:
- Powerful odors like gasoline, foods, etc
- Reading a book
- Focusing on a video game or mobile phone
Symptoms of Motion Sickness
Women and children suffer from motion sickness more often than men. But, most children outgrow the condition over the years. No conclusive data exists to explain why some people get it and some do not.
Symptoms manifest in any mode of transport like cars, trains, boats or airplanes. A merry-go-round at a fair can also induce severe motion sickness. Often, when the ride ends, the symptoms go away. In rare cases, they may continue to be bothersome for as long as a few days after the ride has stopped.
Common symptoms of motion sickness include:
- Profuse sweating
- Physical weakness
- Increased secretion of saliva
- Feeling cold and going pale
1. Prepare for your journey
- Avoid eating a heavy meal before traveling.
- Try to take quick breaks on long-distance journeys. Also, do things like: drink water, take a quick walk, breathe fresh air. These are ways to help with motion sickness.
- Do not consume alcohol or eat spicy, rich meals before traveling.
- Sip cold water, ginger ale or a fizzy drink to ease your stomach and cause belches or burps.
2. Sit comfortably
- Choose a place in the vehicle with minimal jerks and motion. For example, the middle of a boat, the wing of a plane or the front of a car.
3. Breathing and smell
- If possible, open a car window to breathe fresh air.
- If you can smell petrol or diesel fumes, it may be better to close the windows and turn on the AC.
4. Using your eyes and ears differently
- If you sleep or close your eyes for the entire journey, your brain will not receive mixed signals. Thus, this will help reduce confusion.
- Avoid reading while traveling as it worsens motion sickness.
- In fact, you can distract yourself by listening to music while traveling. Keep your eyes closed to avoid sending your brain mixed signals about your position in space.
- Also, watching videos may cause motion sickness.
- Instead, try looking ahead at a fixed place in the distance is advisable rather than moving cars or objects inside the vehicle.
- If you are driving a car, your attention is on the road. Therefore, you are unlikely to feel motion sickness. If you are not driving, sitting next to the driver and watching the scene ahead is the next best thing.
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- Some people find that wearing Sea-Bands on your wrists helps with motion sickness. The band’s designs are based on Chinese medicine that suggests points for acupressure.
Other things that can help ease the condition along with medication:
- Ginger in any form (in a juice, a biscuit or a sweet)
- Focused deep breathing techniques paired with listening to soothing music. Clinical trials have proved this to be effective.
Medicines can help prevent or reduce symptoms of motion sickness. They are available over the counter. To add, you can get a prescription for motion sickness. Both work by interfering with nerve signals sent to the brain.
How to take medication
It is best to take the medications 30 minutes before your journey begins. A common side effect for these medicines is that they cause extreme drowsiness. Hence, do not drive after taking the medicines.
Medicines Hyoscine and Scopolamine prevent confused nerve signals from reaching the brain. Children may take soluble forms of the medicine 30 to 60 minutes before the start of a journey. The effects may last up to 72 hours. Common side effects include blurry vision, marked drowsiness, and dry mouth. In addition, the medicines are also available as a skin patch. The Hyoscine patch is best suited for children over 10 years and adults. The medicine absorbs through the skin. Doctors suggest applying the patch behind the ear 5-6 hours before travel, as it works slowly. Be sure to remove the patch when travel ends. Children can sometimes become irritable when the effects of the medicines wear off.
Antihistamines are another class of medicines that have fewer side effects than Hyoscine.
Promethazine is preferable for young children traveling long trips.
Doctors prefer adults and older children to take Cinnarizine or Cyclizine. It causes them to be less drowsy.
Prochlorperazine is available through prescription only. It changes the actions on the vomit-inducing chemical. Buccastem is a common brand absorbed through the gums. Although it tastes bitter, it is very effective.
In particular, Metoclopramide helps to empty the stomach, quickly. When one suffers nausea, digestion slows down. Thus, this tablet helps to speed digestion. Children should not use this medication. However, it is very helpful for those with gastric reflux, who have had surgery recently or suffer from diabetes.
Ondansetron is best used for morning sickness and for sickness brought on by chemotherapy. This can also be effective for motion sickness if the traveling person is pregnant or undergoing chemotherapy.