How to Deal With Motion Sickness

how to deal with motion sickness

For as long as I can remember, I’ve dealt with motion sickness. Long car rides always left me queasy and roller coasters weren’t even an option. I had hoped that as I got older, my motion sickness would go away, but it hasn’t. But after many years of trial and error, I’ve finally found some tips and tricks that help me manage it better.

Ginger

Until recently, the only ginger-flavored item I ever encountered was good ol’ Ginger Ale. The bubbly staple is great for upset stomachs (or to mix with alcohol). Then once I was in my 20’s, I started to eat healthier and became more aware of natural remedies for common ailments. I started to read up on how ginger boasted tons of health benefits, mainly to help treat nausea. So I tried introducing ginger slowly into my diet on days when I knew I’d be dealing with motion sickness, such as on a long car ride. I tried various brands of ginger tea, ginger gum, and ginger candies — and actually found each to be fairly effective. Ginger is spicy and is definitely an acquired taste, but I surprisingly enjoy it. Score! I highly recommend trying the following products before and during your bouts of motion sickness.

Wearing a Sea-Band

I tried out this product after a college friend raved about it to me. She was on the swim team, and would often ride on the buses for hours at a time to get to her weekend meets. She praised the product as being the only thing that works for her motion sickness. I’ve worn the bands a few times myself, mainly on longer trips, and have found them to be useful.

So how exactly does the Sea-Band work? The knitted elasticated wristband operates by applying pressure on the Nei Kuan acupressure point on each wrist by means of a plastic stud. It’s a great alternative to taking medicine that can cause side effects. (I love me some Dramamine, but it zonks me out and gives me cotton mouth. So I try to only use that in certain situations. But yes, it does work for me.) Yes, wearing the bands on your wrist isn’t exactly a fashion statement, but it’s a lot cuter than watching me vomit.

Listening to music through earbuds

Motion sickness is the feeling you get when the motion you sense with your inner ear is different from the motion you visualize. The key words here are “inner ear.” One theory for motion sickness is that our eyes view motion while riding in the moving vehicle while other body sensors sense stillness, creating conflict between the eyes and inner ear. I’ve found that when I listen to music with earbuds in my ear, I feel less nauseous. Even if it’s not scientifically proven, perhaps just being distracted by music helps alleviate the symptoms.

Sitting in the passenger seat or having an open view straight forward 

I swear that I don’t ask to sit in the front of the car for selfish reasons — it’s really because I don’t want to throw up all over your car. Sitting in the front of a moving vehicle (the front seat of a car or the first row on a bus or train) helps immensely. Looking straight forward without any obstructions (such as a seat in front of you) helps ease the nausea symptoms. If I can’t get a front seat, I’ll happily take the middle seat in the back of a car, since that view is comparable to the front seat.

While you’re at it, crack open a window to get fresh air and breath deeply. This always annoys my friends who get really cold in the car, but there is nothing worse for motion sickness that a hot car (or hot air blowing out of the heater).

Eating something and drinking water

It sounds obvious enough, but I’ve found if I eat a small meal or snack about a half hour before I start to expect motion sickness, I feel a bit better. Being on or in any sort of moving vehicle on an empty stomach or while dehydrated is just a recipe for disaster. Avoid really heavy foods (and alcohol), as they can just make your nausea worse. What works for me? Some type of bland carb, like a piece of bread or a granola bar.

5 Comments

  1. I am right there with you! So excited to have all of the tips for when I visit my in-laws next. Windy backroads in Georgia and motion sickness do not go together very well!

  2. I’ve definitely tried all of these! I feel like the ginger and the sea-bands work the best. I didn’t used to get motion sickness often, but now it happens on any long car ride or boat. I even managed to get motion sickness last summer in a kayak – what?!

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