If half the fun is getting there, then do not let motion sicknessstand in your way. In today's world, we travel by land, water, and air. Luckily, motion sickness, which can make you feel sick to your stomach (nausea) is mild and treatable in most cases. If you have travel in your future, then your best defense is to plan ahead.
Motion sickness is not a disorder of the stomach, but a disorder of the inner ear, the body's balance system. Our bodies keep balance in check through a complex mix of signals involving the eyes, ears, and brain. When the balance system sends conflicting information to the brain, it gets confused. This confusion leads to the unpleasant symptoms of motion sickness.
There are some tricks to combating the nauseous feeling you get and you may not need medication.
Prevention should be the first strategy. Try to avoid situations that may trigger motion sickness. Here are some suggestions:
If these suggestions are not possible or do not help, there are some prescription and over-the-counter remedies that can ease the symptoms of motion sickness.
The drug scopolamine is available by prescription and comes in either pill form or as a small patch worn behind the ear. Over-the-counter medicines include dimenhydrinate and meclizine. Keep in mind that these drugs will suppress the nausea and queasiness of motion sickness, but may also cause drowsiness. Read the label and be aware of any side effects that will affect your ability to drive safely.
Sometimes reducing the sense of nausea is enough to make you feel more comfortable. If you do not want to take or cannot take medication, try something with ginger. Ginger in small doses has been shown to reduce nausea and vomiting, especially in pregnant women. The evidence for ginger to treat motion sickness is less clear. Ginger comes in many forms, and can be found in tea, ginger ale, or bread. It also comes in pill form, so it can be taken like any other medication.
If you take blood thinners (warfarin, aspirin, or others), ginger may increase the risk of bleeding, so consult your doctor or find another remedy.
Acupuncture and acupressure are procedures that use needles or pressure points on your body. When stimulated, the body reacts. The value of these treatments is still being investigated in a variety of health issues. People with motion sickness symptoms like nausea or vomiting have mixed results. Consider this as an option if other treatments fail.
Motion sickness is very common. If you plan ahead before you travel, you may avoid an unpleasant trip.
American Academy of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery
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College of Family Physicians of Canada
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Last reviewed November 2012 by Brian P. Randall, MD
Last Updated: 11/15/2012
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