How to fix travel sickness
What are the symptoms and causes of motion sickness?
While motion sickness can affect anyone, for unknown reasons, women and children are generally more prone to it than men. You are also more likely to experience motion sickness if you have had it before, or if you already suffer from sickness that affect balance, such as vertigo, migraines, and inner-ear problems (vestibular disorders).
Also known as kinetosis, motion sickness is a common reaction that happens to many people when the brain receives conflicting information from the body.
For example, during a car ride, if your inner ear senses motion, but your eyes and body don’t see or feel the same movement, there’s a mismatch of brain messaging. This confusion can cause dizziness, nausea and vomiting.
Symptoms can include a migraine or headache, feeling dizzy, excessive saliva production, burping, sweating, nausea, and a general feeling of being tired and unwell.
Motion sickness preventions, remedies, and treatments
If you or someone you know are suspectable to motion sickness, it is best to prepare ahead.
Dr Sonny Lau, medical director at Travel Doctor-TMVC Melbourne, says there are some key remedies that can be used when feeling queasy.
If you know you or a travel partner are prone to motion sickness, Dr Lau says it is best to plan ahead – so be organised and travel with extra clothes, wet wipes and vomit bags.
The vestibular senses in the brain need to match the inner ear balance, or what can be seen. To do this, Dr Lau says to keep eyes on the horizon – so no reading or looking at screens, especially when your journey is bumpy or windy.
You should also increase airflow whenever you can – open windows in the car and turn on your air vent on a plane.
He advises that while there are medications that can help, many can cause drowsiness, which limits their usefulness during shorter journeys, for drivers, and for younger kids.
Natural remedies such as ginger, peppermint and acupressure-stimulating wristbands do also work for some. Dr Lau also says to avoid alcohol for 24 hours before and during the journey.
It's best to consult with your GP or pharmacist for what works best for you.