motion sickness

Managing Motion Sickness

Motion sickness affects many adults and children everyday. From riding in a car or on a plane, being on a cruise ship or a boat, or even enjoying an amusement park ride, there are many different instances that can cause motion sickness. 

Motion sickness is the uneasy, nauseous feeling you may experience along with episodes of dizziness and vomiting, due to certain motions. 

The vestibular system is a sensory system that involves the inner ears to help control and maintain a sense of balance. With certain car, air and boat motions, the vestibular system can be triggered and you may experience the sensation of losing your balance. This is what ultimately causes motion sickness. 

For motion sickness sufferers, there is relief! Through advanced over-the-counter medications and at-home tactics, you can better control your sensitivity to motion sickness. 

There are two main types of over-the-counter medications to take to help prevent and relieve motion sickness symptoms:

  1. Meclizine (Bonine). 
  2. Dimenhydrinate (Dramamine). 

Both are antihistamines used to target motion sickness and vertigo (loss of balance) by reducing dizziness, nausea and vomiting. Because of the nature of the condition, it is highly recommended to avoid consuming alcohol and driving while on this medication. When taken prior to travel, it can prevent vertigo and motion sickness. 

Besides taking medications, there are a few ways you can reduce your motion sickness symptoms or possibly prevent them. 

  1. Get some fresh air. Fresh air can help you breathe better, relax and reduce nausea. If you are starting to feel dizzy or sick, step outside, have a seat, and breathe in the fresh air. 
  2. Drink water. Hydrating while traveling is extremely important as it can help reduce inflammation and swelling, headaches and nausea.
  3. Find a focus point. If you feel the room spinning, find something to refocus your attention to. Be sure that you are looking straight ahead and avoiding electronic screens, such as TVs, phones and computers. 
  4. Close your eyes and breathe. Sometimes, you just need to close your eyes and breathe. Your surroundings can be causing motion sickness, so it’s okay to take a break and count to ten. 
  5. Invest in acupressure bracelets. There are bracelets that can target your vestibular system to help keep you in balance.
  6. Chew peppermint gum. Peppermint has many uses and one is to help reduce nausea. If you are beginning to feel motion sick, chew on peppermint gum to help soothe your upset stomach. 

Here are a few travel tips to help you travel better by reducing motion sickness:

  1. Face forward. If you are prone to motion sickness, be sure to always face forward while traveling. Avoid sitting in a backwards position, looking backward or turning around, as it can throw off your balance. 
  2. Book plane tickets and cruise cabins in the middle. It is recommended that if you easily get motion sickness to sit near the wing of the plane, sit in a window seat on planes and buses, and stay in a cruise cabin near the middle of the ship. The middle, versus the rear and the front, are less likely to experience sudden motions. 
  3. Meal prep. Before traveling, eat a balanced meal and stay hydrated as motion sickness can feel worse on an empty stomach. As an extra tip, keep easy to eat snacks with you, such as granola bars, crackers, or trail mix, to help ease your stomach if you start feeling sick.

While motion sickness is not a curable condition, it can be managed. By following these tips and tricks, you can enjoy travel and adventure with less motion sickness. If you continue to feel motion sickness often, talk to your doctor about your experience and if there are additional treatment options for you. 

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