Monday, April 22, 2013

Surviving Motion Sickness While Traveling

Growing up I hated traveling.  My motion sickness made going anywhere unbearable.    The second I was in a car on a winding road I would get queasy.  I’ve thrown up in more cars, boats, and buses than I would like to admit.  It took me a long time to come up with remedies that actually worked and made traveling enjoyable. 

These days, without any medications I can handle most flights and bus rides, but boat travel is what always does me in.   I barely made it through my snorkeling trip to The Great Barrier Reef and got sick several times in Thailand with hours left to go on the boat.  The second I can’t see land or a fixed point, I’m a goner.  I love being in the water and never want to miss out because I’m afraid I’ll get sick.

A heavy meal is a definite no before getting on any kind of transportation, and I always have a stash of salty snacks like pretzels with me to settle my stomach and conquer mild nausea.   Keeping my stomach empty or with bland food only is the best way to avoid unnecessary problems.  Some people swear by ginger tablets or tea for digestion and nausea, but these don’t work for me. 

Another thing that doesn’t work for me is Dramamine.   I dislike the bitter taste that always comes with swallowing the pill, and it simply doesn’t offer much relief for me.  In a pinch it can prevent me from vomiting, but if I rely solely on Dramamine I will be miserable.

I never travel without a pair of Sea Bands.  These cloth wristbands have a small plastic piece that presses on the inside of your wrist, using acupressure to combat nausea.  I’ve been using them for at least 15 years, and they always provide relief from motion sickness.  You can put them on before or after symptoms kick in and within minutes you should start to feel better.

But even with wearing Sea Bands, I finally came to terms with the fact that I need prescription medication for any kind of boat travel.   Scopolamine patches are thumbnail sized patches worn behind the ear.  They resemble a band-aid and can be worn for up to three days.  The best part is you can swim and shower without the patch falling off.   Apply the patch four hours before travel and always wash your hands before and after touching the patch.  Be sure to switch ears if you are applying another patch after three days.   Side effects include drowsiness and dry mouth, but in the 10+ years I’ve been using them have never had an issue. 

Motion sickness can put a serious damper on travel.  It may take a while to find out what method works best for you, and I’m not always adequately prepared because travel can be unpredictable.  I would have never experienced the beautiful islands in Thailand or survived a 10-day bus trip in Europe without these remedies.  

Since I’m always up for feeling better on the road, what methods do you use for motion sickness? 

1 comment:

  1. I've started to get a little motion sick in the backseats of cars, and I can't remember the last time I was on a boat big enough to make my feel sick. But I will heed this advice next time I go to outer space!