Heading out on a long road trip, train journey or cruise? Here's the latest in herbal and pharmaceutical remedies to ease the symptoms of motion sickness.Heading out on a long road trip, train journey or cruise? Here's the latest in herbal and pharmaceutical remedies to ease the symptoms of motion sickness.
Don’t let a queasy stomach ruin your next cruise, road trip, or flight. Here are some tips from pediatricians, traveling moms and the folks at ShopSmart, a publication of Consumer Reports, who share their tips on what to do to counteract or better – prevent – motion sickness. Bring some of these herbal or pharmaceutical remedies along when you take to the road this summer, so you can enjoy your lunch – and avoid losing it:
Herbal & Folk Remedies
Ginger: Although far from proven, this is safe and worth a shot, especially for mild symptoms. Ginger root, typically sold in candies and capsules, has the most supporting evidence as an anti-nausea remedy. Occasional use of up to 250 milligrams four times a day is considered safe for most people, including women who might be pregnant.
Probiotics: Anyone who hangs out in a health food store has probably heard about the benefits of probiotics, or "good" bacteria, a common remedy used in other countries for stomach upset and occasionally prescribed by U.S. doctors to kids who are taking anti-biotics for an infection. In addition to capsules and powders, among the crop of new travel-oriented products are Attune candy bars, which come in eight flavors and are said to provide five times the beneficial cultures found in one yoghurt. We sampled a delicious chocolate mint bar but can't testify to its efficacy, but to prevent a carsick kid or lessen the chance of contracting Montezuma's revenge, we'd try anything!
Wristbands: Bracelets such as Sea-Bands, found at drugstores, stimulate acupressure points on the wrist and have been shown to combat nausea in some situations. The evidence that they work against motion sickness is mixed. However, they’re safe and can be used along with other remedies.
Drugs to Combat Nausea
Antihistimines: Older over-the-counter antihistamines such as dimenhydrinate (Dramamine) and diphenhydramine (Benadryl) have been proven to counteract motion sickness and are approved by the Food and Drug Administration for use by children older than 2. The catch is that they take 30 minutes to an hour to kick in, and they can leave you feeling drowsy or light-headed. Newer, non-sedating over-the-counter antihistamines such as loratadine (Claritin) and cetirizine (Zyrtec p) might relieve allergy symptoms but don’t appear to quell a queasy stomach.
Prescription Drugs: If all else fails and this is a recurring problem in the family, you may need to ask your doctor for prescription relief. Promethazine (Phenergan) is another antihistamine effective at relieving nausea, but it might make you sleepy. Another choice is prescription strength meclizine (Antivert), although it, too, may cause drowsiness. A scopolamine patch (Transderm-Scop) is also very effective, but side effects including blurred vision and severe drowsiness make it a treatment of last resort. Some patients also report a rebound effect, including nausea, dizziness, and headaches when they remove the patch.
5 Tips to Nip that Queasy Feeling in the Bud
• Eat stomach-soothing foods: Have a light meal about 3 hours before setting out. Avoid dairy products and foods that are high in protein or sodium. A light breakfast of an orange, for example, may stay down better than bacon and eggs. If motion sickness strikes, munch on crackers and take small sips of a carbonated drink or fruit juice. Chew on ginger candies or pop a ginger supplement. Chamomile and peppermint are also used to quell stomach upset.
• Get the best seat: Pick the spot least affected by motion — up front in a car, over a wing on a plane, or midship on a boat deck.
• Avoid nausea triggers: These include alcohol, cigarette smoke, and pungent odors. The power of suggestion is strong, so if possible, stay far away from other sick passengers.
• Focus your mind: If you can, lean into your headrest to minimize movement and focus on the horizon or a distant object. Don’t read or watch movies. If you’re queasy, close your eyes and recline until the feeling passes.
• Get some air: Crack a window, turn on a vent, or step out on a ship’s deck to get some soothing fresh air.
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