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Prevention and treatment of motion sickness

Believe it or not, sometimes the Travel Experts experience a bit of motion sickness when we’re on the road.  Whether it’s in a plane, riding the train, taking a ride to the airport in a shuttle, sailing the high seas or even when riding in a motor coach on a city tour, sometimes we feel a little, well, bad. Being motion sick when you’re on vacation or traveling for business is NOT fun.  Nausea, dizziness, headache and sweating can all be symptoms of motion sickness.  Motion sickness is caused your inner ears and your eyes send different information to your brain-for instance your body feels motion that your eyes don’t see or your eyes see motion but your body does not feel movement, your brain kind of says WHOA….what’s going on here??  Then you get dizzy and nauseous and well……there’s a reason that “oops” bags were invented! Sometimes people are effected by motion sickness at amusement parks, playing video games, using Virtual Reality devices or even seeing 3D movies.  Everyone is different and while some people may feel ill, others will not.  Some of us here are fine if they are driving or in the front passenger seat in a car, but put us in the back, or in, say an airport shuttle van, and we’re reaching for some Bonine. There are ways to keep motion sickness under control, or to even prevent (or minimize) the symptoms.  Different remedies work better for different people so try a few options to see what’s best for you.  And if you’re on a cruise, for example, we’ll give you a few ideas on how to feel better while you’re at sea. Over the counter tablets like Bonine and Dramamine can be very helpful in preventing motion sickness.  The two brands have slightly different formulas and dosages.  Most people prefer one over the other.  These are readily available over the counter in your favorite drug store, grocery store or department store. Other travelers use acupressure motion relief bands.  These bands are drug free and are placed on pressure points on your wrists.  When worn correctly, they also help to prevent motion sickness.  The bands have no side effects and will not make you drowsy.  You also will not have to worry about any potential drug interaction, nor will they interfere with your favorite “umbrella drinks!” Your local health food store will likely stock ginger pills, candied ginger, ginger tea and/or ginger candy, and these can also be helpful in preventing motion sickness.  Your local pharmacy or grocery store may also stock these items with their vitamins or in the health food aisle. Available with a prescription from your doctor, the Scopolamine patch is worn behind your ear, and changed every few days.  Since these patches are prescription medication, there are drug interactions and side effects that can occur.  You should discuss these with your doctor before deciding if the patch is right for you.        Many travelers have suggested that once they are home and no longer using the patch, they have had headaches, dizziness and dry eyes.  Again, since the Scopolamine patches are only available by prescription, you must see your physician. If you know that you’re prone to motion sickness, be sure that you take whatever remedy you choose in time for it to work.  When using Bonine for instance, taking it the day BEFORE you fly, cruise, ride the train, etc. is best, but as long as you take it at least an hour before, you should be fine.  Use your treatment as directed, or until you feel better.  Sometimes when I cruise, I will take Bonine the day before sailing and the first day.   I’ve cruised enough that I usually do not feel any motion on the ocean; however, a little preventive medicine is not a bad thing.  If I notice that we may run into bumpy seas, I sometimes will take additional Bonine. What should you do if you feel seasick/motion sick even after using a method of prevention?  If you’re on a cruise ship, getting fresh air and looking at the horizon can be helpful as the air will perk you up and focusing on the horizon (which does not move) will help your body to focus.  Don’t try to read, that will just exacerbate the situation.  If you’re on a train, make sure your seat faces forward.  When flying, seat near the front or over the wing.  Again, you can try and focus on the horizon.  Also, turn on that little fan over your head.  The air moving may help you feel better and if you’re sweating this will cool you a little bit. Another way to feel better is with some sort of distraction.  Try listening to music or even taking a nap.  The less you dwell on your feelings, the better.  If you can, try taking a walk around or participating in an activity.  Even watching your friends try to surf on the surf simulator when you’re on a cruise might help!  (At the very least, you’ll be entertained if they wipe out!! Keeping a little food in your stomach is also helpful.  Crackers, green apples and even hard candies can help with the queasiness.  Likewise, ginger ale or another light, fizzy beverage like 7-Up can be useful.  Avoid caffeine and alcohol and steer clear of eating a heavy meal until the feeling subsides. The good news is that motion sickness usually resolves itself pretty quickly.  Knowing that you’re susceptible, and knowing what to do to prevent or control the feeling will make you a lot happier when you’re on the road or on vacation.      

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