That plane trip to your tropical getaway just doesn’t appeal. You want the sun, sand and beach, but flying high over water to get there has you feeling anxious even before you reach the airport. It’s not because you’re afraid to fly, it’s the motion sickness. You break out into a cold sweat, feel dizzy and need to dash to the bathroom to vomit…
Think preventing motion sickness is only a concern for parents with toddlers on a road trip? Think again. This is a very real concern for many adults that plays havoc with their travel plans. Here’s a primer on the symptoms of motion sickness and quick tips for avoiding motion sickness altogether.
Symptoms of motion sickness
Before we discuss motion sickness treatment, let’s look at the condition itself. Motion sickness is a common disturbance of the inner ear caused by repeated motion: The movement of a car, the motion of a plane in turbulent air, the swell of the sea. Motion sickness and sea sickness are the same thing. Your inner ear has a lot to do with your sense of balance (who knew?). In the inner ear, which is also called the labyrinth, motion sickness puts your sense of balance and equilibrium out of whack, affecting your sense of spatial orientation.
Interesting, about 33 percent of people are susceptible to motion sickness even in mild circumstances, like a boat in calm water. Nearly 66 percent of people are susceptible in more severe conditions, such as an airplane experiencing turbulence in a storm.
Motion sickness can be mild or severe. If you’ve had it before, you’ll relate to the following symptoms. The most common are:
- dizziness (vertigo)
- general feeling of discomfort and not feeling well (malaise).
Mild symptoms are categorized as:
- mild unease
More serious symptoms include the following:
- short breath
Preventive measures for motion sickness
Plan ahead to escape the symptoms of motion sickness. Keep in mind, too, the more you travel, the more easily you’ll adjust to being in motion.
Preventing motion sickness is a priority for travelers. It can be as simple as following these quick tips for avoiding motion sickness:
If you’re traveling, reserve seats where motion is felt least, and always ride where your eyes will see the same motion that your body and inner ears feel:
1 By car, drive or sit in the front passenger’s seat. Back-seaters always experience the bumps and potholes.
2 If you’re on a ship, ask for a cabin in the front or middle of the ship near the water level. Go up on deck and watch the motion of the horizon.
3 When you’re flying, try to get a seat over the front edge of a wing where the motion is minimized. Once seated, direct the air vent flow to your face.
4 By train, take a seat near the front and next to a window and sit facing forward.
If you’re prone to motion sickness, keep these pointers on how to beat motion sickness handy:
5 Don’t read because it can throw you off-balance and make symptoms worse. Instead, focus on a distant, stationary object.
6 Try to keep your head as still as possible, resting comfortably against a seat back.
7 Don’t watch or talk to someone who is experiencing motion sickness. Sharing is not helpful in this case!
8 Don’t overeat, and avoid strong odors, spicy or greasy foods and alcohol. These can set you off.
9 Drink a carbonated beverage or eat dry crackers to help settle your stomach if you become ill.
10 Take an over-the-counter antihistamine, such as meclizine (Antivert), or one containing dimenhydrinate (Dramamine), at least 30 to 60 minutes before you travel. Expect drowsiness as a side effect. Dimenhydrinate is also available as a new medicated chewing gum which can provide significant relief from symptoms of motion sickness.
Now that you’re better acquainted with how to beat motion sickness, you can enjoy your travels. These simple tips will get you on your way, safely and without stomach upset. Bon voyage!
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