If you or your children are suffering from travel sickness, then you’ll know how unpleasant it can be. Cold sweat, nausea, dizziness, and vomiting are only some forms this nasty ailment can take. Robert M. Stern, professor of psychology at Penn State University, explains that motion sickness is caused by a “sensory mismatch” where the brain is being sent contradicting information by the inner ear and the eyes. Approximately 20 million British people get travel sick with children between 2 and 12 years old being particularly affected. But what can be done to relieve the symptoms or prevent travel sickness all together?
Don’t travel on an empty stomach but don’t eat heavy foods either
Dr. Jane Wilson-Howarth from Cambridge has some solid tips on what you can and should eat: “Light meals are best – don’t have a big plate of fish and chips before a journey as it will slop around your stomach. Creamy chocolate drinks or fizzy ones are bad – light drinks like apple juice are good.” Eat light snacks such as apples or dry biscuits and drink plenty of water even if you’re throwing up. “If you vomit, you do not want to be dry-heaving”, she adds.
If you can reduce the motion you’re experiencing, then the problem might not become so severe. When travelling in a car, the front seat is one of the best spots to sit and on a train, you should make sure to pick a forward facing seat. On a boat, you should try and find a cabin in the lower-centre part of the ship and if you’re flying, then the middle of the plane near the wings is the perfect spot for you.
Relax and breathe
If possible, open a window and breathe deeply. You don’t want to get hot and stuffy as that can increase the symptoms. By focusing on your breathing or focusing your mind in other ways, you can stay calm and composed. However, avoid looking at your phone or reading as this will make matters worse. Instead try and find a fixed spot on the horizon and focus on that instead. This won’t make the problem go away, but it can help to alleviate the symptoms.
Take a pill
Luckily, medication is available for those suffering from severe motion sickness. The NHS lists hyoscine and general antihistamines, which are normally used to fight allergies, as some of the most common tablets to treat travel sickness. Most of these will have to be taken before you set off on your journey. As always though, you should check with your doctor if you can safely take these tablets. The NHS warns: “Hyoscine should also be used with caution in children, the elderly, and if you have certain conditions such as epilepsy or a history of heart, kidney or liver problems.” Some medication can also cause drowsiness, so avoid taking it if you’re driving.
No “cure” can guarantee a 100% success rate, but you can make travelling a lot more bearable by preparing beforehand and taking the correct measures to stop matters from getting worse.