Easing the discomfort of travel sickness
With holidays, too often comes travel sickness or motion sickness as it’s often called – basically, sickness in response to certain types of motion. As many parents know, it is much more common in children especially those between 2-12 years of age.
It’s not a disease, but does cause some very unwanted symptoms including vomiting, low blood pressure, dizziness, excessive sweating, headaches and a general feeling of being quite unwell and very lethargic.
It is thought to be caused by a mismatch in the messages the brain receives from the inner ear balance mechanism and what the eyes are seeing. The eyes may be telling the brain that the body is stationary, whilst the inner ear mechanism is sensing a movement. The contradiction leads to motion sickness.
Reducing the risk of travel sickness:
- look at a fixed object such as the horizon
- don’t read whilst you’re on the move as looking down can make the sickness worse
- sit in the front of the vehicle if possible so you have a clear view out of the window
- ride in larger vehicles as they are less susceptible to motion e.g. a larger boat rather than a small one
- closing the eyes can sometimes help as it shuts out one of the senses and can allow the brain to ‘re-set’
- get plenty of fresh air and try and avoid fumes from the vehicle you’re travelling in
- drink plenty of water and eat small amounts frequently
- use a pillow to add support to your head and stop it moving around as much
- anxiety makes things worse – try distraction techniques with children such as car games or singing. For adults, try breathing and other relaxation techniques
Motion sickness brings about slower gut movement, thereby slowing drug absorption. So preventing the symptoms from occurring is more effective than trying to treat them after they’ve arrived.
Easing the sickness naturally
- ginger is known as one of Mother Natures best solutions for travel sickness. Make as a tea and sip slowly or buy some natural ginger lozenges and suck on them as you’re travelling. Try: Ginger – Nature’s Sunshine or Travacalm Natural
- acupressure points – you can purchase wrist bands that apply gentle pressure to a point that helps your body feel more balanced. Sea-Band motion sickness wrist bands
- Bach flower essences are another good option: Rescue Remedy can help with the anxiety associated with the travel as well taking the edge of the nausea. Now available as lozenges and a spray.
- travel sickness tablets: helpful for treating the nausea. These include: Kwells, Travacalm H.O and Travacalm original. Many do cause drowsiness
- antihistamines such as benadryl and Claratyne can also help with nausea
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