It happens to the best of us and, sometimes, it sneaks up on a traveler and is seemingly unavoidable...and it's not jet lag: it's motion sickness. For some, it comes in the form of nausea while for others, the effects are unbearable to the point where travel causes stress and anxiety. No one should be subject to canceling or postponing a trip for fear that they'll be too sick to make it to their destination - and that's where we come in.
While it might be entirely unavoidable for some, there are many ways to go about treating motion sickness. From OTC products to medicine-free wristbands and patches, there's an entire world of products and tips out there designed to keep one's stomach and head in check on a flight. Some of these even pull triple duty and can be used on boats and in the car, making them life-savers for anyone who reels at the slightest hint of movement.
Motion Sickness: Determine What's Causing It
For most people, the cause of motion sickness is the same whether it happens on a plane, in a car, or on a boat. Essentially, the movements detected visually are differing from what one's vestibular system is detecting, which both relate different signals to the brain. These conflicting signals are what tell the body that something is out of whack, leading to feelings of nausea, dizziness, headaches, and other side effects. At its core, it's the body's inability to register movement outside of one's own body that's being caused by a method of transportation.
This is why when one feels seasick, it's often recommended that they stare at the horizon line. Since this is a fixed image and doesn't move no matter how the boat might shift, it's a good way to re-program one's brain into being aware of movement without being sickened by it. Obviously, this is not possible to do in the car (although opening the window and staring into the distance can help) or on a plane - so, what's the answer?
Consider Eating Smarter, Not Less
When it comes to motion sickness, eating can be a tricky business - especially when nausea is involved. When in doubt, travelers should avoid anything that could have the potential to upset their stomach further. This might mean starting the day out with something light such as toast and skipping the stacks of pancakes or huge egg dishes. For dinner, avoid spicy foods or anything that's rich, and stick to light meals. The last thing anyone should do is have an empty stomach, which could exacerbate symptoms and make them worse.
Another thing travelers can do is try eating some ginger. Whether it's in the form of a ginger chew or in capsule form, it's been shown to help curve nausea which can be tremendously helpful with motion sickness.
Pay Attention To Where Your Glance Goes
Anyone who has taken their glasses off and looked up from a book too quickly, or has swiveled around too fast while wearing reading glasses is familiar with that swaying sensation. This conflicting motion - a person's head swinging one way while their eyes are still magnified elsewhere - is similar to the sensation one might get when facing the opposite direction in which they're traveling. This is more common on ships and trains, or even in limousines, where it's possible for a passenger to be facing backward while moving forward. Turning in the direction one is heading might be all it takes to curve that swaying, woozy feeling.
Additionally, staring at something that further contradicts the direction of one's line of sight - such as reading or staring at a phone - will undoubtedly make motion sickness worse. When this happens, one's peripheral vision is still focused on the outside world while one's main focus is on a stationary, close-up object. This is further complicated by the act of reading, which triggers eye movements contradictory to what the vestibular system senses.
Consider opening the windows when in the car, or turning on the AC unit when on a plane to mimic the feeling of fresh, cool air.
Consider Trying Essential Oils, Pressure Points, Or Anti-Nausea Medicine
Essential oils aren't just a trend; they can also be a helpful, holistic way of dealing with minor symptoms caused by motion sickness. Peppermint, lavender, eucalyptus, ginger, and other scents provide comfort and ease the mind while traveling. For some, this might be the key to coping with the anxious emotions that come with motion sickness. These can be applied to the wrist or behind the ears where the inner ear can be found, providing benefits the longer the oil seeps into the skin.
Additionally, pressure points might prove helpful for those suffering from dizziness and nausea. Sea-Bands are just one brand of anti-motion sickness bracelets that apply pressure to a point on the wrist believed to aid in helping stomach discomfort.
When all else fails, an antihistamine such as Dramamine is highly effective in controlling nausea and all the feelings that come with it.
As with any antihistamine, Dramamine can cause feelings of drowsiness and should not be taken by those who are driving or operating any kind of vehicle.