ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Travel Sickness - Don't Let It Ruin Your Trip

Updated on July 25, 2010

Motion sickness is incredibly common. There are no reliably accurate statistics but it is estimated that, in the UK, a third of the population is affected to some degree. The symptoms include, drowsiness, headache, nausea and vomiting.

What causes travel sickness? Although various factors such smell and memories of previous incidents play a significant role, the principal problem lies with the brain receiving mixed messages.

Your brain spends much of its time processing information from different parts of your body. Much of this information concerns position and movement. The system works well - so long as the various sources of information agree with each other. But when your eyes tell you one thing, the vestibular system in your inner ear (which monitors balance) tells you something different and the receptors in your skin, muscles, joints and spine disagree with both of them - things are liable to go a little haywire.

For example, if you're on a ship in rough weather, your inner ear tells you how you're moving relative to the 'ground' beneath you - but that information is based upon the ground staying still, and your eyes inform you that the 'ground' is moving independently (because it's the ocean). And it's worse if you look at something inside the boat. Then your eyes tell you that you're stationary - while your vestibular system insists that is definitely not the case.

Not surprisingly, with all this conflicting information, you probably won't be feeling too great at this point.

Travel sickness is more common in children, possibly because their vestibular systems have yet to mature, and in pregnant women thanks to altered hormone levels.

So what can you do about it - apart from never going anywhere?

The answer breaks down into:

1. Things you can do.
2. Things you can take.

Things You Can Do

* Minimize the conflicting information being sent to your brain by reducing the amount of movement to which you are subjected. So, sit above the wing in a plane, or in the middle of a boat, at the front of a train, or in the front seat of a car.

* Minimize visual input by keeping you eyes closed where possible or wearing sun glasses if that isn't possible.

* When your eyes are open, focus on something outside the vehicle because your brain won't be expecting that to stay still - unlike, say, the seat in front of you. If possible, face forwards because then objects won't be moving across your field of vision, which can be hard work for your eyes (another reason to sit in the front of a car).

* Do not try to read; the print will not stay still. The same goes for computer games.

* Deep breathing reduces feelings of nausea.

* Distract your brain by listening to music or having a conversation.

* Avoid eating or drinking anything that stimulates the vomiting centre in the brain. Large meals, fatty foods, alcohol and caffeinated drinks such as tea, coffee and cola all come into this category.

* Ultimately, if you can stand the pain of getting to that point, the answer is to become a seasoned traveller because, with practice, the brain will eventually learn to make sense of the conflicting signals.

Things You Can Take

Natural

Many natural remedies have been suggested for travel sickness but ginger is the only one with any degree of scientific support - although the small amount of quinine in tonic water does appear to help reduce feelings of nausea. The other natural remedies seem to rely on the power of suggestion (which can be very powerful). Ginger speeds up emptying of the stomach into the bowel so you are less likely to be sick. 2g of fresh or root ginger are recommended but even ginger biscuits or tea will help.

Pharmacological

The most effective drug for motion sickness is hyoscine hydrobromide, which works by blocking massages from the vestibular system in the inner ear to the vomiting centre in the brain (fewer conflicting messages). Hyoscine is the active ingredient in many proprietary travel sickness tablets (e.g. Kwells, Joy-Rides) but, unfortunately, it wears off quite quickly and can cause drowsiness.

Skin patches containing hyoscine are also available on prescription. These are effective for up to three days but have to be applied several hours before travelling.

Sedative antihistamines such as cinnarizine (Stugeron) are also effective. They don't work as quickly as hyoscine but they last longer. And, as you probably gathered from the word 'sedative', they can cause drowsiness.

Prochlorperazine (Stemetil) is also sometimes prescribed for motion sickness.

So, although the effects of motion sickness can be severe, they can be controlled, and eventually eliminated, by a combination of doing the right things and, where necessary, taking appropriate medication.

Tom Nolan is a dentist with over 30 years’ experience.

If you found this article useful, you should check out his book

Watch Your Mouth – An Owner’s Manual.

Also available as a download. This book is packed with practical advice and will tell you everything you need to know to keep your mouth healthy, trouble-free and beautiful for the rest of your life.

You can get in touch via Tom's practice: The Dentist in Town.


Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image

      Emma Barnes 

      8 years ago

      This really helps , On tea do you mean just normal tea , Or do you mean ginger tea ? :)

    • profile image

      Judith Roberts 

      9 years ago

      I have found Sea (or Travel ) Bands to be very effective in controlling motion sickness/nausea. They are small wrist bands with an acupressure button on the inside, worn on both wrists. Can be purchased in Boots and other places.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)