Travel sickness, also called motion sickness, occurs when one experiences unpleasant symptoms such as nausea, vomiting and dizziness while travelling. Depending on the mode of travel, it is also called air sickness, car sickness, or seasickness.
For some people, travelling can be a nightmare, especially if they experience severe symptoms such as having pale skin, breaking into cold sweat, salivation and vomiting. Others may also experience headaches, drowsiness, rapid, shallow breathing, and extreme tiredness. A few people also feel unusual sensations such as rocking or bobbing, even hours or days after they have disembarked from travel.
Most people are able to adapt to the conditions of travel and their symptoms improve after a while. However, some people continue to experience the unpleasant symptoms until they get off the environment that is causing them to feel sick. If these symptoms do not improve after travelling, the individual must consult a doctor to evaluate their condition, which may be related to another problem, such as ear infection.
What causes travel sickness?
Travel sickness occurs when there is a conflict between what the eyes see and what the inner ears sense. The inner ears help with our sense of balance, but the brain may receive contrasting information from the eyes, which is may bring on your symptoms of travel sickness. Motion sickness can also occur while watching a movie or computer game which causes a feeling of motion.
Anyone can experience motion sickness, but some people are more vulnerable to it than others. It is common among children up to 12 years old, but among adults, women are more likely to have it, especially if they are pregnant. Individuals who have migraines are also at risk of developing travel sickness. Estimates show that it occurs in about 30% of people who are travelling.
Remedies for Travel Sickness
Most people who experience mild symptoms of motion sickness are relieved by just fixing their eyes on the horizon while travelling or by distracting themselves by listening to some music. However, some people have more serious symptoms, for which they may take a medication such as Hyoscine (scopolamine) or antihistamines like Meclizine (dimenhydrinate), to be able to travel more comfortably. However, these drugs may have side effects, such as drowsiness, dizziness, and drying of the mouth, which can also affect your travel.
Here are some natural remedies to make travelling more comfortable for you:
- Minimize movements of the head and body by staying in a place where you will experience the least movement during travel. This may be a seat in the middle of a plane or a cabin in the middle of a boat. Use a pillow or a headrest to help keep your head still.
- Fix your vision at the horizon or close your eyes. Avoid reading or playing games on your gadget because this may cause your symptoms to worsen.
- Get some fresh air by opening the windows or moving to the ship’s top deck.
- Relax and distract yourself by listening to music, focusing on breathing, or doing some mental activity.
- Avoid eating big meals.
- Avoid drinking alcohol before you travel.
- Avoid worrying and stay calm.
Complementary treatments may also help relieve motion sickness, such as:
Health supplements containing ginger are believed to help prevent symptoms of travel sickness. Ginger is a spicy root has been traditionally used for nausea and vomiting, such as morning sickness related to pregnancy. Some studies found that taking a ginger supplement before going on a ride that simulated those found in an amusement-park can make people feel less nauseated. Some doctors recommend taking a 1,000 – 2,000-mg ginger supplement about an hour before a trip to prevent travel sickness.
Aside from ginger supplements, other ginger products such as ginger tea or ginger biscuits may also be used. However, ask your doctor about using ginger supplements, especially if you are taking any other medication. It is also important to remember that ginger can make the blood thinner especially if you are on heart or blood-pressure medications. In some cases, these supplements can cause mild side effects, such as diarrhea and heartburn.
Acupressure is traditionally used in Chinese medicine to balance the flow of energy or chi, in the body. Nausea is a sign that there is disharmony of chi. One study published in the Aviation, Space, and Environmental Medicine, showed that performing acupressure on the wrists helps reduce motion sickness. You can do this by pressing your inner arm about two inches down from the wrist crease using your thumb. Hold the pressure for a few minutes, until your symptoms subside.
You can also use acupressure bands, which are stretchy bands worn around the wrists. They are used to apply pressure to the inside of your wrist between two tendons, just like doing it manually with your thumb. Some therapists claimed that using acupressure bands can be effective in treating travel sickness.
According to homeopathic medicine, symptoms of illness are the body’s normal responses as it tries to regain health. Based on the concept that “like cures like,” it believes that a substance that causes a symptom in a healthy person may cure the illness if the person is given a small amount of the substance, as his body tries to adapt to it. This means that a homeopathic dose can enhance the self-regulatory and normal healing processes of the body. Homeopathic health practitioners use highly diluted mixtures (solutions) that contain a small amount of an active ingredient (usually a mineral or a plant) to treat disease.
Homeopathic treatment of travel sickness may use substances such as Argentum Nitricum, borax, Cocculus Indicus, Kali Bichromicum, Nux Vomica, Rhus Toxicodendron, petroleum, Tabacum, or a combination of these.
This information should not take the place of medical advice. We encourage you to talk to your health care providers (doctor, registered dietitian, pharmacist, etc.) about your interest in, questions about, or use of dietary supplements and what may be best for your overall health.
NHS. Motion Sickness. http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Motion-sickness/Pages/Treatment.aspx
WebMD. Drugs and Medications: Travel Sickness. http://www.webmd.com/drugs/2/drug-11115-550/travel-sickness-oral/meclizine-oral/details
Fox News. 6 motion sickness remedies. http://www.foxnews.com/health/2012/07/24/6-motion-sickness-remedies/
Wong, C. Homeopathic Remedies for Motion Sickness. http://altmedicine.about.com/cs/homeopathy/a/TravelNausea.htm