How To Beat Travel Sickness
From drinking ginger ale to sitting on brown paper: How to beat travel sickness on land, water and air
- Motion sickness is caused by a disjoint between brain and body signals
- Drinking ginger ale or tea can soothe the stomach and relieve sickness
- Acupressure wristbands put pressure on points on that control nausea
- Suffers can take medication such as antihistamines or hyoscine tablets
You know the feeling. It rises from the bottom of your stomach and swells to a hideous mixture of drowsiness, nausea, the sweats, a loss of colour, headaches, retching and vomiting.
Travel sickness affects us all and can ruin any trip, whether at home or abroad.
It surfaces on boats, cars, planes and trains – but don’t let it put you off your summer holiday. There are a few things you can do to help.
Travel sickness can surface on boats, cars, planes or trains and affects us all at some point or another
WHY DO WE GET IT
It’s down to a disjoint between what your eyes see and what your inner ears – the part that help with balance – sense.
We have a network of nerves, channels and fluids in our inner ears called the vestibular system that contribute to a sense of motion and balance.
Motion sickness is down to a disjoint between what your eyes see and what your inner ears sense
If your brain gets messages that you’re moving but your body (and ears) doesn’t, or vice versa, things get confused.
Similarly, if your body experiences motion that doesn’t tally with what your eyes are seeing, the mixed signals result is feeling pretty poorly.
That’s why motion sickness can strike on fair ground rides, watching car chase sequences or playing a computer games.
It’s most common in children under the age of 12 but some people can be lifelong sufferers.
It can strike on fair ground rides, watching car chase sequences or playing a computer games
Your position can help alleviate the worst of symptoms. Keep still and either close your eyes or keep them trained on the horizon to minimise conflicting brain signals. Looking down at maps, phones or books makes motion sickness unbearable.
Sit near the airplane wing (by the window where you can look out) to keep movement to a minimum
Where possible, drive the car or sit near the airplane wing (by the window where you can look out) or on deck in the middle of a boat, to keep movement to a minimum.
Use a headrest to keep your head and neck as still as possible and don’t face backwards.
Ginger has been found to aid digestion, prevent nausea and improve joint pain associated with arthritis due to its anti-inflammatory properties.
Ginger has been found to aid digestion, prevent nausea and improve joint pain associated with arthritis
Dr Andrew Weil, a best-selling author on holistic health, recommends mixing half a teaspoon of ginger powder in a glass of water and drinking it 20 minutes before travel, or taking two capsules of powdered ginger.
But you can also try drinking fresh ginger tea, ginger ale or taking supplements. Ginger can interact with blood thinning medication such as aspirin so consult your doctor before taking, if you’re at all concerned.
Travel sickness is made infinitely worse by strong smells. Avoid perfume, petrol fumes or smelly food when in the back of a car or moving vehicle.
Travel sickness is made infinitely worse by strong smells such as perfume, petrol fumes or smelly food
Your mother was right: open the window, breathe deeply and get a breath of fresh air to ease the sickness.
Acupressure wristbands work by putting pressure on points on that control nausea and a study in 1995 found them to reduce feelings of sickness.
They’re a new version of an ancient Chinese fisherman’s remedy. Try one from Sea Band (£8.59,sea-band.com) that uses knitted elastic bands to apply pressure on the Nei Kuan acupressure point with a plastic stud.
Wear them before you travel or slip one on when the sickness starts.
Acupressure puts pressure on points on that control nausea and a studies show wristbands reduce sickness
SIT ON BROWN PAPER
Likely apocryphal, but worth a mention. For decades, old wives’ tales have circulated claiming that sitting on a brown paper bag cures motion sickness.
There is no real explanation for this, except that doing so can serve as a mental tool to help yourself think you are doing something to ease the affliction.
Sometimes believing in something can be all it takes.
For decades old wives’ tales have circulated claiming that sitting on a brown paper bag cures sickness
Hyoscine tablets can be bought without a prescription at the pharmacists and are a powerful anti-travel sickness medication.
They work by blocking the confusing nerve messages going to your brain. You should take them between 30 and 60 minutes before travelling and the effects last for up to 72 hours.
Hyoscine tablets and antihistamines can be used to bring extreme cases of motion sickness under control
Or, try patches, which need to be applied five or six hours before travelling and release hyoscine through your skin and into the blood stream.
Side affects include a dry mouth, drowsiness and blurred vision and it should be used with caution in children, elderly people and those with a history of heart, kidney or liver problems.
Antihistamines are also used to control nausea or vomiting and may have less side affects.
Consult your pharmacist for advice on which to take.
Side affects of hyoscine include a dry mouth, drowsiness and blurred vision and it should be used cautiously
Motion sickness improves as your body adapts to new conditions so many just need to wait to feel better
GET OVER IT
Generally, motion sickness improves as your body adapts to its new conditions. In nine out of ten cases the best advice is to employ a stiff upper lip and wait for things to get better of their own accord.