Coping With Travel Sickness

[Image - Caleb George]
Avatar photo
Written by Tim Barnes-Clay

Travelling is an experience that opens the door to new worlds and cultures but sadly, there can sometimes be a few bumps in the road.

Travel sickness can be an incredibly frustrating condition, quickly destroying the excitement or joy of new experiences. Whether it affects you, your partner or your children, the whole family’s trip can easily be ruined by a sudden bout. Luckily, there are now plenty of cures available to help treat it and make you forget all about those dreaded words: ‘I feel sick’.

Breaking down the cause

Whilst the condition is more commonly known to plague children between the ages of two to twelve, it can actually resurface for lots of people during their later years. Astonishingly, it is believed to affect around 20 million Britons a year, with symptoms usually consisting of nausea, dizziness and vomiting.

What’s the cause? It turns out it’s your brain sending conflicting signals from the eyes and the inner ear. If the driver throws the car around, chalk particles suspended in liquid in your ear begin to push against microscopic hairs. Your brain is told you are on your side whereas your eyes tell a different story, making you feel absolutely awful.

The basics

Before heading off to the chemist, there are a number of self-care options that can help ease your suffering. For starters, minimising head and body movement is essential, so whether you’re on a boat, plane or car you should choose the middle seat or cabin, as this is where you will experience the least amount of movement.

You can also fix your vision on a stable object such as the horizon, but don’t play games or read because – as you know – this makes it much worse. Keep the windows open if you’re in a car, or get to the top deck of a ship for a good amount of fresh air to help ease the main symptoms.

Relax and stay calm, as with many things, worrying about it only makes it worse. Doing things to keep your mind off it can help, such as listening to music or playing mental activities, the less you fret, the less of a problem it becomes. Food and drink can play a big part in this as well, so try to avoid large meals and alcohol before trips to reduce the chances of feeling ill.

Medical options

There is a considerable variety of medication out there to help you deal with travel sickness and prevent its symptoms. One of the most common forms is a hyoscine tablet, which is available over the counter at most chemists. It starts to work after 15 minutes and can either be taken before you travel or once you start feeling sick. If you suffer from the sickness often, then you should take it before so it becomes more of a preventative measure. Patches are also available and are effective for 72 hours but should be applied before the journey.

Another more specialised treatment comes in the form of acupressure bands that you wear around your wrists, which are suitable for both you and the kids. They work by applying pressure to a specific point inside your wrist between the two tendons that run down your inner arm. These are also known as ‘sea bands’ and make for an excellent drug-free option, meaning there are none of the pesky side effects which can occur with anti-nausea drugs.

A rather surprising form of treatment that has been known to work is taking ginger supplements (ginger seems to solve everything!). Historically, ginger has been used to treat nausea and vomiting, meaning it’s more than suitable in the fight against travel sickness. If you’re looking for a natural remedy, then this is the best route to take.

Travel sickness is no fun at all and can cloud an otherwise fantastic holiday, but it’s also easily treatable thanks to the diverse range of products out there to fight it. Whether you opt for self-care, tablets or wristbands, you can now look forward to your holidays without having the words ‘I feel sick’ lurking just around the corner.