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How To Prevent Motion Sickness

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How To Prevent Motion Sickness

While traveling by road, air or water, if you are feeling dizzy or nauseous, you could be suffering from motion sickness. Sucking on a clove, peppermint or ginger candies, or licorice may help. So can sipping on a cup of chamomile, fennel, or fenugreek tea. Placing some sugar or half a nutmeg under the tongue while traveling is another way to avoid an episode.

Do you feel nauseous or dizzy when you travel? If the answer is yes, you could be suffering from motion sickness. Also known as travel sickness, seasickness, car sickness, or air sickness, motion sickness presents itself in a combination of signs and symptoms like paleness, cold sweats, increased saliva, apart from dizziness and nausea.1

While anyone can get motion sickness, some people are more prone to it than others like children between the ages of 3 and 12. Once they reach the teens, they are likely to grow out of the condition. People who get migraines are also more susceptible to experiencing motion sickness. Pregnancy, as well as menstruation, are other triggers.

What Causes Motion Sickness?

Usually, motion sickness is linked with traveling in a vehicle, you can also get it on fairground rides and even while watching or playing fast-paced films or computer games. The main theory that explains motion sickness is the sensory conflict theory. 2 According to this theory, motion sickness occurs when there is a conflict between what the eyes see and what the inner ears sense. When there is a mismatch or conflict of information between these two senses, confusion builds up in the brain and leads to symptoms of motion sickness. To put it in layman’s terms, when you travel by car, your eyes tell your brain that you are traveling at more than 40 miles per hour, but your vestibular system–the network of nerves, channels, and fluids in your inner ear, which gives your brain a sense of motion and balance–tells your brain that you are sitting still.3

Dealing With Travel Sickness

Both alternative and mainstream medicines have ways to treat motion sickness. All you need to do is to approach a doctor. There are, however, certain preventive tips you can take while traveling. Here are some4:

By Car

  • Do not read or smoke
  • Sit in the front seat with the head resting against the seat back
  • Keep your eyes ahead
  • Turn the air vents toward you

By Plane

  • Eat light before the travel
  • Try to get a seat toward the front of the aircraft or over the wing
  • Turn the air vent toward your face

By Boat

  • Sit on the upper deck or toward the front of the ship
  • Keep your eyes on the horizon

Some Home Remedies To Try

There are many home remedies for motion sickness with mixed results. Let’s take a look at a few of them.

1. Ginger

Although there isn’t much scientific evidence to support the use of ginger to cure motion sickness, ginger has a long history of being used as a remedy for nausea and vomiting. Ginger can be taken in any form to cure motion sickness. You can suck or chew on the raw root, have ginger biscuits, ginger tea, buy the chewable tablets that are available, or even pop a capsule or pill before commencing on your journey. Another easy and tasty option is to buy some ginger candies and allow it to just dissolve in your mouth.

2. Peppermint

For those who are not too happy with the thought of having to suck on ginger, peppermint could be a better option. Peppermint candies are believed to calm your stomach while peppermint tea can be effective in warding off nausea. There are some who insist that peppermint is most effective when used as an essential oil.

3. Fenugreek

The next option is fenugreek, which is believed to be exceptionally helpful to counter the nausea spells that are a symptom of motion sickness. Fenugreek is available as capsules, ready-made tea, as seeds, powder, and even fresh and dried leaves. They can be consumed as they are, or made into a tea, or ground into pulp.

4. Fennel

Another herb that helps fight motion sickness is fennel. Like fenugreek and peppermint, fennel, too, is available as seeds, bulb, and leaves. Fennel can be consumed raw, as a tea, powdered, etc.

While these are the more “popular” home remedies, some other herbs and spices that help with motion sickness are marjoram, rosemary, basil, cloves, nutmeg, chamomile tea, raw garlic, etc. Here’s a list:

  • Chew a couple of cloves to keep motion sickness at bay.
  • Place half a nutmeg under the tongue during the length of your journey.
  • Suck or chew on licorice.
  • You could sip chamomile tea, too.
  • If you opt to go with garlic, make sure you chew on raw garlic before starting the trip, and not after you start feeling nauseous. Keep at it during the trip, too.
  • Sugar is another home remedy for motion sickness. A spoonful of sugar placed under the tongue or in the mouth as soon as you begin to feel uneasy is said to work wonders.

Alternative Medicines To The Rescue

Homeopathy has fast and effective treatments for motion sickness.5 Medicines like bryonia, cocculous indicus, argentum nitricum, borax, ipecac, tabacum, etc. can help alleviate symptoms of motion sickness. There are acupressure bands available to apply pressure to a particular point on the inside of the wrist between the two tendons on the inner arm.6 This pressure is believed to relieve motion sickness. However, there is not much scientific evidence to show their effectiveness.

References   [ + ]

1. Money, K. E. Motion sickness. No. DRET-RP-729. DEFENCE RESEARCH ESTABLISHMENT TORONTO DOWNSVIEW (ONTARIO), 1969.
2. Warwick-Evans, L. A., N. Symons, T. Fitch, and L. Burrows. “Evaluating sensory conflict and postural instability. Theories of motion sickness.” Brain research bulletin 47, no. 5 (1998): 465-469.
3, 6. Motion Sickness. NHS.
4. Motion Sickness. University of Maryland Medical Center.
5. Motion Sickness. University of Michigan.