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Travel Sickness – Can I Prevent It?

By Dr. Nikita Toshi +2 more

Travel sickness, Motion sickness, seasickness, car sickness”¦ many names but the same outcome.

What Causes Travel sickness?

The most accepted theory is that of sensory conflict. It is a disturbance of the inner ear that is caused by repeated motion. It’s when your vestibular system tells you one thing, and the other senses tell you another. This creates a conflict, leading the vestibular system to become confused and over-active. When this happens, the body tries to make things right, leading to Travel sickness.

Travel Sickness - Can I Prevent It? - PharmEasy

Travel sickness can affect even the most regular travellers. Anyone can suffer from an episode of motion sickness; however, some people have a higher threshold than others. Travel sickness is known to commonly affect children between the ages of 2 to 12 years, pregnant women and those suffering from migraine. Research also shows travel sickness is linked to a genetic factor.    

Symptoms Of Travel Sickness

Travel sickness often triggers nausea and vomiting – the two most common conditions associated with it. However, travel sickness is not just limited to nausea and vomiting but may include sweating, pallor, headaches and drowsiness. In some cases, people feel dizzy and experience rapid breathing.

Tips To Beat Travel Sickness

While it may be impossible to prevent all cases of Travel sickness, here are a few tips that will help to lessen the intensity.  

  • Take Control Of The Situation:

For example, while travelling in the car, putting yourself behind the wheel makes you less prone to travel sickness as the brain uses its motor commands to control the car and can predict the motion. However, if you ride as a passenger, try sitting on the front seat and looking at the horizon, which confers a sense of greater control than riding in the back. If you get stuck in the back seat, try getting involved in conversation and distraction to alleviate the anxiety of not being in control of the situation. If possible, open a vent or a source of fresh air and avoid reading.

  • Watch What You Eat:

Curb the consumption of food, drinks and alcohol before and during your travel. Avoid foods that make you feel unusually full or have strong odours, that are heavy, spicy, or fat-rich as these may worsen symptoms of nausea or travel sickness in some people.  

  • Get The Right Place:

Try choosing a seat where you will experience the least motion. For example, the middle of an aeroplane over the wing or in the lower level cabins near the centre of a ship. Distance yourself from others who may be suffering from motion sickness. Hearing them talk about motion sickness or seeing others become ill can possibly make you feel ill yourself. Face the direction of your travel.

  • Change Positions:

For some people, lying down relieves their symptoms, for some others standing up works best. Depending on your type of travel, experiment with what works best for you. If travelling in a vehicle, leaning your head against the headrest can reduce the head movements.  

  • Talk Yourself Down:

Talk yourself out of travel sickness. Use affirmative sentences and learn breathing techniques to help achieve this.  

Along with the ones mentioned in the blog , deep breathing and not using AC will help in reducing the symptoms of motion sickness

Dr. M.G. Kartheeka, MBBS, MD
  • Herbal Remedies Such As Ginger Or Peppermint Tea:

Some studies support the use of ginger as having a preventive effect on Travel sickness. Peppermint tea is known to reduce nausea. Consider sipping on some tea before your travel or store it in a flask so you could use it during your travel.  

  • Over The Counter (OTC) And Prescription Medicines:

If the above self-care measures don’t work, the other options are medications at your local drug store or through a doctor’s prescription. Try taking OTC antihistamine drugs. However, it’s not just what you take but when you take that’s important. These medicines are useful when taken correctly which means 30 mins to an hour before you start your travel so that it has a chance to work and get absorbed in your system. It should be noted that antihistamines are known to cause drowsiness. Consult your doctor before consuming any medication.  

For children feeling motion sickness, offer sips of water and very light snacks if required while travelling. Avoid milk or milk-based food preparations for at least one hour before the travel to minimise chances of feeling motion sick.

Dr. Ashish Bajaj, M.B.B.S., M.D.

Also Read: How to Make Yourself Throw Up: Necessary Techniques and Precautions

  • Face the Way You Are Travelling:

If you are on a cruise, move towards the bow and don’t stand near the stern. It helps in disengaging your inner ear from your visual stimulus. Try sitting in the front seat instead of the rear seat. It is said that being seated in the front helps in relieving symptoms of motion sickness.  

  • Focus on a Static Entity:

Keeping your eyes fixed on a stationary item placed at a distance is another technique that helps in disconnecting your visual sense from your inner ear that causes the sickness.  

  • Keep Yourself Distracted:

Prevent your mind from constantly thinking about how sick you feel. Instead, distract yourself by focusing on your favourite music or talk about things that bring comfort to you. Motion sickness is highly associated with psychological reasons and doing things that let you relax can help with your nausea.  

  • Stop Scrolling Through Your Phone:

Motion sickness can cause difficulty in texting or grasping visual elements that are on your screen. Constantly being on your phone can aggravate the symptoms instead of alleviating them.

Disclaimer: The above information has been prepared by a qualified medical professional and may not represent the practices followed universally. The suggestions listed in this article constitute relatively common advice given to patients, and since every patient is different, you are advised to consult your physician, if in doubt, before acting upon this information. Lupin Limited has only facilitated the distribution of this information to you in the interest of patient education and welfare.



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