What Should You Prepare for Motion Sickness?

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Motion sickness, sometimes referred to as sea sickness or car sickness, is a very common disturbance of the inner ear that is caused by repeated motion. Anyone can develop motion sickness, but people vary in their sensitivity to motion. Motion sickness most commonly affects children from 2 to 12 years old, pregnant women, and people who are prone to migraines. In addition to sea travel, motion sickness can develop from the movement of a car or from turbulence in an airplane.

Here are some ways you can reduce the risk of becoming car sick or seasick:

Be well rested

Missing sleep and feeling exhausted make you more susceptible to factors that can cause motion sickness. Wind down before your trip.

Take medications with you

The over-the-counter medication meclizine (Bonine, Antivert, Dramamine) can be a very effective preventive measure for short trips or for mild cases of motion sickness. Your doctor also may choose to prescribe medications for longer trips or if you repeatedly develop severe motion sickness. One example of a prescription medication is a patch containing scopolamine (Transderm-Scop) that often is effective in preventing motion sickness. Remember that scopolamine can cause drowsiness and has other side effects, and its use should be discussed with your physician prior to your trip.

Watch what you eat

Watch your consumption of foods, drinks, and alcohol before and during travel. Avoid excessive alcohol and foods or liquids that “do not agree with you” or make you feel unusually full. Heavy, spicy, or fat-rich foods may worsen motion sickness in some people.

Get fresh air

If you are feeling seasick, it is often helpful to go out on an open deck or balcony and look toward the horizon. Doing so helps your eyes “see” the motion, which will then send signals to the brain more in alignment with what the inner ear is “telling” the brain, Bradberry says. Fresh air, especially wind blowing in your face, tends to help. It also helps to focus on something other than the boat’s motion, so try to keep active while aboard the ship.

Request a cabin mid ship and near the water line

“The side-to-side sway and the up and down ‘seesaw’ pitch motion of the ship is minimized in the middle of the boat,” Bradberry says. You might also want to request a room with a window or portal so that you can easily look out on the horizon.

Have a bite

The best foods are light and bland, such as saltine crackers, plain bread, or pretzels. Having some food in your stomach is better than having an empty stomach, but be careful not to eat too much. Also, you might want to sip some ginger ale: Ginger is a well-known natural remedy for motion sickness. Peppermint also may have calming effects on the stomach. Many people find that eating crackers along with drinking water or soda helps.

Wear an acupressure wristband

These wristbands apply pressure to a point on the wrist, generally where you wear a watch. Many people find the pressure helps them avoid nausea, one of the symptoms of motion sickness. You can find acupressure wristbands in some pharmacies, or order them from online stores such as Amazon.

Avoid stimuli that can trigger nausea

“Nausea is a hallmark of seasickness. Any stimulus that triggers nausea can aggravate seasickness symptoms,” Bradberry says. Triggers include eating greasy foods, spicy foods, acidic foods such as citrus fruits and juices, and large meals. Avoiding alcohol helps because, as a diuretic, alcohol speeds up dehydration and can lower your body’s resistance to motion sickness, especially if you are prone to it. Steer clear of any noxious odors and other people on the boat who are vomiting from motion sickness.

Choose your itinerary carefully

If you know that you get motion sickness, you should probably only sail on larger ships and select itineraries that go through calmer bodies of water. The Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea, for example, tend to be calmer than most portions of the Atlantic Ocean. Also, newer ships are built with the latest stabilization systems, which help reduce the motion you feel.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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