Summertime often means traveling, be it by plane, train, car or boat. For people who suffer from motion sickness, these trips are not a part of vacation they look forward to.
Experts say that motion sickness is caused by a sensory mismatch—a disconnect between the body’s systems that gauge the motion we sense and the motion we visualize. The symptoms typically start with sweating, dizziness and a general feeling of uneasiness, followed by nausea and in some cases vomiting. Different remedies work for different people and instances, so consider the following tips for relief:
Avoid anything that could cause or exacerbate nausea. Don’t travel on an empty stomach, but avoid greasy or spicy meals that could cause discomfort, as well as excessive alcohol and foods with strong odors. Try protein-packed snacks that will travel easily. You want to keep your stomach as calm as possible when going into a situation that might upset it more.
Sit where you’ll experience the least motion. If you’re traveling by car, driving can decrease that sight/feel disconnect that causes motion sickness. If that’s not possible, the next best option is the passenger seat so you can have a full view of the road. If you’re in an airplane, try to get a seat in the middle, over the wing, as this is the calmest area. If you’re sailing, you’ll want to be in lower level cabins near the center of the ship. Regardless of the vehicle, sit facing the direction of travel and take advantage of fresh air through vents or windows if possible.
Keep your eyes on a fixed point. Choose a landmark, seat or the horizon and focus on that stationary point. Following words on a page will only make the sight/feel disconnect that causes motion sickness worse, so avoid reading while traveling if you can.
Find your pressure point. Some travelers find relief from motion sickness with wristbands that apply pressure to the P6 point, which, according to traditional Chinese medicine, controls nausea. Try applying pressure on your inner arm about an inch-and-a-half above the crease of your wrist to see if this reduces your nausea.
Try an over-the-counter medication. The classic Dramamine can be effective for mild motion sickness, and in severe cases your clinician may prescribe something stronger. Studies have also shown that ginger, usually taken dried and in a capsule, can stave off motion sickness.
No matter which of these remedies works for you, travel safely this summer!