Motion Sickness is an unpleasant feeling that most of us have experienced at some point while travelling. An exciting journey can quickly change from fun to miserable if you experience this physiological response to motion.
Motion sickness occurs when our body, inner ear and eyes send differing information to our brain. An example of this is when we are on a boat. Our inner ear senses the motion, but our eyes do not see movement. Motion Sickness can occur when travelling by air, car, train, boat or even while watching a 3D movie.
Who is most at risk?
Children two -12 years old
Those who are prone to nausea and vomiting
Women more than men; particularly women who are pregnant, menstruating or taking hormones
Travellers taking certain prescription medications
- feeling ‘unwell’
- increased salivation
Prevention is ideal to ensure you do not experience motion sickness in the first place. Here are some things you can do before and while you are travelling:
Avoid moving your head as much as possible
Expose yourself to fresh air if accessible
Avoid heavy meals and alcohol before and during travel
Avoid strong odours
Look out the window in the direction you are travelling. This can help with visual affirmation of motion and align the inner ear and visual sensory input.
In a car, sit in the front seat and avoid watching screens or reading a book
Watch the horizon and go out on deck when travelling by boat or ship – Arrange a cabin near the centre and at the waterline of the ship
When booking air travel, choose a window seat near the wings
Sleeping or closing your eyes while travelling
Sipping ginger ale or ginger tea may decrease motion sickness
Taking Dimenhydrinate (Gravol) 30-60 minutes before departure.
According to Bernice Li, Registered Pharmacist at Pharmasave Kitsilano, it is best to take Dimenhydrinate (Gravol) 30-60 minutes before travel as it is most effective when taken before exposure.
Acupressure – There is no conclusive evidence Sea Bands help with motion sickness but if you are prone to motion sickness you it may be something to try preventatively. Ensure you follow the manufacturers recommendations. Correct band placement is essential.
Medication: Dimenhydrinate (Gravol) is available in liquid, chewable tablet and suppository form. Suppositories are recommended if your child is vomiting. A medication trial at home before you leave can ensure your child will not experience any side effects if it is the first time Gravol will be consumed.
- Dose: 2-6 years, 15-25mg every 6-8 hours
- Dose: 6-12 years, 30-50mg every 6-8 hours
Medication: Gravol is available in (chewable) tablets and suppository.
- Adult dose: 50 mg every 4-6 hours
Side effects of Dimenhydrinate may be drowsiness and dry mouth.
Scopolamine trans dermal patches are available for adults only and can provide protection for up to 72h. Check with a pharmacist or your family doctor before using Scopolamine to ensure it is a suitable option with your health history and medications.
Check with a pharmacist or family doctor to ensure you obtain the safest option during your pregnancy.
Tips to take away!
Prevention is the best approach to avoiding motion sickness – so plan ahead!