You know the feeling. It rises from the bottom of your stomach and swells to a hideous mixture of drowsiness, nausea, sweats, a loss of color, headaches, retching, and vomiting. Travel sickness affects us all and can ruin any trip, whether at home or abroad. It surfaces on boats, cars, planes, and trains – but don’t let it put you off your summer holiday. There are a few things you can do to help.
WHY DO WE GET IT: It’s down to a disjoint between what your eyes see and what your inner ears are – the part that helps with balance sense. We have a network of nerves, channels, and fluids in our inner ears called the vestibular system that contributes to a sense of motion and balance.
Beat Travel Sickness On Land, Water, Vehicle, and Air
If your brain gets messages that you’re moving but your body (and ears) doesn’t, or vice versa, things get confused. Similarly, if your body experiences motion that doesn’t tally with what your eyes are seeing, the mixed signals result in feeling pretty poorly.
That’s why motion sickness can strike on fairground rides, watching car chase sequences or playing computer games. It’s most common in children under the age of 12 but some people can be lifelong sufferers.
GINGER: Ginger has been found to aid digestion, prevent nausea and improve joint pain associated with arthritis due to its anti-inflammatory properties.
Dr. Andrew Weil, a best-selling author on holistic health, recommends mixing half a teaspoon of ginger powder in a glass of water and drinking it 20 minutes before travel or taking two capsules of powdered ginger.
But you can also try drinking fresh ginger tea, ginger ale, or taking supplements. Ginger can interact with blood-thinning medication such as aspirin so consult your doctor before taking it if you’re at all concerned.
FRESH AIR: Travel sickness is made infinitely worse by strong smells. Avoid perfume, petrol fumes, or smelly food when in the back of a car or moving vehicle. Your mother was right: open the window, breathe deeply and get a breath of fresh air to ease the sickness.
MEDICATION: Hyoscine tablets can be bought without a prescription at the pharmacists and are a powerful anti-travel sickness medication. They work by blocking the confusing nerve messages going to your brain. You should take them between 30 and 60 minutes before traveling and the effects last for up to 72 hours.
Antihistamines are also used to control nausea or vomiting and may have fewer side effects. Consult your pharmacist for advice on which to take.
GET OVER IT: Generally, motion sickness improves as your body adapts to its new conditions. In nine out of ten cases the best advice is to employ a stiff upper lip and wait for things to get better of their own accord.