Traveling is fun for some; others even consider it a hobby. They talk about seeing new places, meeting new people, and can’t wait to jump on a bus as soon as they mention traveling.
However, it is not the same for them; traveling is a “nightmare.” It’s not like they do not want to meet new people or try foreign foods, they have to first think of the minutes or hours of discomfort they have to endure while in a moving plane, car, bus or train.
What is Motion Sickness?
The brain coordinates movement through signals sent by the inner ear, eyes, skin, and other sensory organs. Motion sickness is caused when the brain is confused by all the different signals sent at once.
An example would be using your phone on a road trip. Your inner ear is sending signals of motion to the brain, whereas your eyes are fixed on your phone, which doesn’t seem like its moving, and do the eyes sends a conflicting signal to the brain. The imbalance in the signals causes motion sickness
Symptoms of Motion Sickness
- Increase in salivation
- Shortness of breath
- Loss of balance
- A general feeling of discomfort
Though everyone is at risk of getting motion sickness during long-distance movements, some categories of people are more susceptible to sickness than others.
Pregnant women and people who have migraines or Meniere’s disease and children between 2 and 12 years of age have higher chances of having motion sickness, while individuals without a functional balance system are immune to motion sickness.
Some researchers believe that women are more likely to have motion sickness than men due to their relationship with estrogen. Some phases of the menstrual cycle and taking birth control pills can make symptoms worse.
How to Ease the Effects of Motion Sickness
The symptoms cannot be avoided as they are responses of our brains to signals, but their effects can be minimized. Some of the ways to go are :
- Closing the eyes: This fixes the conflict between the eyes and the inner ear.
- Choosing the right seats: Sitting near a window or at the front passenger seats helps a lot. These seats give you a view of the horizon.
- Avoiding reading or using your phone during the journey.
- Alcohols and smoking are a “no-no.” Drink water instead.
- Foods that are spicy, heavy, rich in fats, or with a strong smell should be avoided before or during travel.
- Thinking of motion sickness or hearing people talk about it can cause motion sickness. It is essential to stay away from people with the illness.
- Lying down can help ease symptoms.
- Fresh air helps. Open windows or use air conditioners. Breath!
- Acupressure has been said to work for some. You can try getting an acupressure wristband.
Furthermore, some studies have suggested the use of herbs like tea, peppermint, and ginger. Since ginger can be used as a natural blood thinner, it is essential to inform your physician before using it if you are on prescription blood thinners.
If none of these works, medications are available
Treatment For Motion Sickness
After trying some of the suggested options above with no progress, your doctor might recommend using medications:
This is in the class of medications called antihistamines. It has a chewable form and is used in the treatment of dizziness, nausea, and vomiting. It is usually taken 30mims to 1hour before traveling and then every 4-6hours after that.
The side effects associated with it are hyperactivity in children, drowsiness, headaches, blurred vision, dry mouth, nose, or throat. Call your physician immediately if you experience a fast or irregular heartbeat.
They are several forms of scopolamine, but the most commonly used types are the transdermal patch. It owes it’s effectiveness to its anticholinergic properties and can hinder the secretion of sweat and saliva.
Sleepiness, agitation, sore throat, dilated pupils, confusion, itching, and swelling of some body parts are side effects of scopolamine. The patch is usually placed behind the ear 4hours before the journey and lasts for about three days.
Cyclizine is used in the treatment of nausea and vomiting. It is also used in treating some inner ear problems.
Children over six years of age and adults can use it. Blurred vision, constipation, and dizziness are side effects of this, and alcohol should be avoided as it increases the risk of side effects.
People with porphyria, a blood disorder, phaeochromocytoma, tumor, glaucoma, eye disease, liver problem, high blood pressure should avoid the use of the cyclizine.
The first dose of meclizine is usually taken one hour before traveling. It is used to reduce the loss of balance and dizziness.
Serious side effects like seizures, shaking, difficulty urinating, mental changes should be reported to a physician as soon as it is noticed. Medical conditions should be discussed with the pharmacist before taking this.
Asides it’s used to treat motion sickness; it is also used to treat allergies. It is an antihistamine that works by affecting acetylcholine, a naturally occurring substance in the body that aids communication between the muscles and nerves.
Like other medications, it has side effects like hallucinations, confusion, photosensitivity, impotence, and blurred vision. Its usage can result in slow breathing. As such, it should not be used on children of 2 years and below.
When treating children, the medications to recommended of all mentioned above are the dimenhydrinate and diphenhydramine.
Please, seek medical advice from your doctor before buying any medications.
With all you know now, will you let the fear of motion sickness keep you from taking that trip? No! Take necessary precautions or medications as the case may be, have some fun! Cheers.