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Overcoming Motion Sickness

I have been prone to motion sickness all my life, although it's not as bad as when I was a child. Interestingly, I can ride the trains without a problem, as long as I'm facing forward. Flying and sailing seem to be the worse scenarios. I've taken over-the-counter meds and although I didn't become nauseous, I found that I had a light-headed feeling that lasted for several days. By the time it's nearly gone, it's time to fly home, and once home, the sensation is worse, and lasts much longer. Any ideas on how to avoid this? Thanks for any and all ideas.....

Posted by
83 posts

Motion sickness bracelets. It's acupressure, so there's no drugs involved and they work. Available at most drug stores, my only regret is that my girlfriend picked up the baby blue colored ones instead of the cooler looking black ones!

Posted by
80 posts

I have the same problem! I used to take Dramamine, but it makes me very sleepy. You could try a small dose of that (maybe half 1 pill) or try the non-drowsy kind. I don't take it anymore because I found that if I have air blowing on my face and I look straight ahead while the plane is taking off and landing, then I feel ok. During these times especiall, don't look out the window or read! Adjust the air nozzle above your seat to blow directly on your face (I have it blow strongly) and that makes a huge difference. I've never tried the bracelets, but that might work too. Whatever you do, try things out on shorter trips before a big trip to europe so you can find out what works best.
Good luck!

Posted by
24 posts

Try ginger. Either ginger capsules or candied ginger(or ginger tea),if you like the taste. Ginger-ale doesn't have enough ginger to help.
There have been studies that show it helps(and some that say it doesn't) but it has worked for me.

Posted by
805 posts

Also, get an aisle seat, in the middle of the plane (if it's a 2-5-2 or similar configuration) because I have found that not being able to look out a window helps. If you can't see a reference point, it's harder to get disoriented.

Posted by
10 posts

Maybe it's not motion sickness that you described since it lasts for several days after your flight. Have you checked with your doctor? Perhaps the engine noise in concert with the turbulence and fear of flying perhaps? Have you tried earplugs on the flight? What have you got to lose? Good luck, and let us know what works for you. I second the bracelets, by the way.....

Posted by
51 posts

The bracelets work like magic for me. I used to have to take Gravol for any boat travel or back roads in the car and it totally knocks me out. But I find the bracelets work really well. My sister-in-law even used them for morning sickness when she was pregnant.

I agree with the comment about ginger too. It doesn't work as well for me as the bracelets, but I often use them in combination.

Good luck!

Posted by
805 posts

A few thoughts:

  1. I agree, if it sticks with you for several days please see a doctor. It might be something else.

  2. I have a problem with sailing too. I was riding on a boat in relatively calm waters about a year ago and I wasn't feeling too hot until I took some Dramamine (and I only felt slightly crappy).

  3. This may sound odd but sit near the middle of the plane (since most transatlantic flights are 2-5-2 or such) where you can't see the window. I've found that if I can't see out the window I don't tend to be nearly as disoriented/motion sick.

Posted by
11450 posts

I too have always had travel sickness issues. I cannot sit in a back seat in a car for more then 15 minutes without feeling it coming on,, even taking a taxi for a long ride makes me sick.
I get seasick, and get this, I love cruising, LOL. Trains are not an issue for me though, I never felt sick on one yet!Planes are a 50/50 thing, if its rough I can feel a bit woozy, but on smooth flights I am fine. I do not look out the window since that means looking at things"sideways" and that can make me feel woozy again.

I do not think it is just motion sickness that makes you feel sick days later,motion sickness usaully only takes a few hours to clear up once motion is over. I wonder if you have more complicated inner ear issues, or you may be one of those people who suffer from jet lag(it sounds like jet lag to me).

I take gravol and the effects are out of my system in the 4-8 hrs that the medicince is effective for,it shouldn't affect you after that since your body does not store it

Posted by
208 posts

I have vertigo and flying really sets it off. I am often sick (or feeling out of it) for days after a bought. I use meclazine (I think that is how it is spelled) It is over teh counter also. It doesn't make me as sleepy as dramamine.

Posted by
11450 posts

PS. Motion sickness sucks,, I am sick of people who have never had it saying its "in your head" , my husband used to be one of those people. I remember he thought our son was " too young to have it" or was " copying his mom" .. He was driving our son( then about 10) and 4 other little boys to Scout camp. Son said, I feel sick, Dad doesn't believe him, thinks he is stressed or nervous about camp.. son then vomits all over car, poor soul, he was so embarrassed.. in front of the other boys and all.
I had wanted to give son some medicine before the drive,, which I usaully did, but hubby thought a one hour drive was too short to do it,, I never listen to him anymore when it comes to motion sickness.

And as I pointed out, I love cruising, but always need my drugs.. not everyday, just when its rough.

Posted by
12040 posts

It is useful to distinguish if you suffer from actual vertigo or you simply get nauseated by motion, because the potential treatment for each is quite different. You can treat vertigo with repositioning exercises, whereas people who suffer "motion sickness" without the vertiginous component often suffer from migraines as well. These people often respond to the same preventative medications. You'd be best off asking your doctor, or if you have one, a neurologist.

Posted by
435 posts

Ginger Chews candy help me. You can buy them at World Market.

Posted by
37 posts

Hello Diane,

Coming from a family of boaters who are prone to motion sickness I can give you the following tips.

  1. See your physician. Your doctor can prescribe a "motion sickness" patch which is worn much like the nicotine patches. You put the patch on a few hours before you leave and it lasts for about 24 hours. The advantage to the patches is that the medicine is absorbed slowly by your system and minimizes the sleepiness and headaches that go along with taking the over the counter meds. Both my husband and son get very seasick (and yeah, we have a boat!) and the patches work really well for them - when we are out we are on the boat 24/7 and theyydon't get sick no matter how rough it gets!
  2. Make sure that you are well hydrated before you fly - that means drinking lots of water starting a couple of days before you fly!!
  3. Eat frequently - nothing spicy or fatty - an empty stomach makes the symptoms worse.
    Hope this helps.
Posted by
83 posts

I've been reading a lot about how peppermint can help motion sickness. I drink peppermint tea when my stomach is upset and it helps a lot. I have not tried it myself yet for motion sickness, but I'm thinking about taking some peppermint tea on our next trip. You can also buy peppermint oil and put some on a napkin and then smell it. Peppermint really has a way of making your head feel clear, so it makes sense to me that it is recommended for motion sickness.

Posted by
14 posts

Pat... I understand about people thinking that motion sickness is 'all in your head'. My ex-husband thought the same way until he had to pull over in the car and watch me lose my cookies on the side of the road... he still rolled his eyes at me when I mentioned it - but alas... he is now and ex and doesn't have to deal with it! :)

I use gravol and I am going to try the wrist band for my bus tour through Europe that starts next week - here is hoping to not asking the bus driver to pull over!!

Posted by
54 posts

Hi Diane
I have the same problem plus a weak stomach. When I fly abroad for more than 5 hours, I take a dramamine, it knocks me out but I usually need the sleep. A few times I ask my doctor for something that will relax me. I also drink alot of water (no liquor), eat a small plain meal before I board the plain. I also will sip on 7-up and eat saltines crackers. Last I always have the air directed on me. Hope this helps!

Posted by
11450 posts

Oh Carmen , you poor thing! Good riddance to Mr.Empathy.

Carmen I discovered something available in the States and Caribbean( took it on my cruises) , as well as in England, it is a motion sickness medicine that does not knock you out like Gravol does. For some reason we do not sell it in Canada( ok may be it causes Cancer, I do not care, LOL) . It is the active ingriedient in American Bonaime, not in the Canadian version though. Its called something like Mezolin or some such name.
If I was you , once you get to Europe see if you can find it in a pharamcy there. I found some in England ( I just asked the druggist), and my son and I used it and it worked great. It did make you a little relaxed, but did not knock you out the way Gravol can( which is great since it might be nice to be consious on part of your tour and actually see stuff! LOL)

Posted by
213 posts

I've been reading this with interest as we're leaving in 10 days. I've made 2 trips abroad and was deathly ill on the plane...I'm talking body shutting down ill (let's just say I was vomiting and taking Immodium when I could). I wore the bracelets both times and took the pills the first time and the patch the second time. Although I'm very prone to motion sickness I have never gotten sick on a train or a domestic flight (I've felt a little ill at times) and never take any preventative meds. I've only ever gotten sick like this on a fishing boat on the ocean. I can tell you Diane I'm so ill by the time we get there I can barely get on our shuttle and have to lie down for an hour or so. After that though, although I'm exhausted, I'm fine after a few hours. I'm telling you all the details because I have extreme motion sickness and it doesn't last for days- just hours after the motion is gone. I think you should talk to your doctor about other possibilities.

Posted by
18 posts

I get REALLY sick on boats, ferries, rafts, or any type of virtual-reality stuff, IMAX films, etc. I was really worried in February when I took a ferry from Trellenborg to Rostock (and back again), because like you, I didn't want to be in a dizzy/fuzzy haze for the entire time. My friend's little girl let me borrow her motion-sickness bracelets (sort of like sweatbands with a hard plastic dot on them that presses down on your inner wrists). They worked great, I didn't feel even the least bit queasy and no side effects :)

Posted by
18 posts

Oh, I forgot...sometimes I get sick on planes so I always make sure to have the cool air blasting right on my face when I start to feel pukey and ALWAYS have peppermint gum with me. I'm prone to getting heartburn a lot too and the peppermint gum works everytime. I even give it to my kids when they feel "pukey" :) My favorite is the "Ice Cubes" by Icebreakers.

Posted by
359 posts

I have found Dramamine is the best for me, I would get sick on every flight w/o it and I am ok on trains if I am facing forward. the only side effect is dry mouth, I bring some lifesavers and drink a lot of water and I usually feel fine
try to keep youself on a schedule for eating every few hours, sleeping the same time every night, it's harder when you travel but it seems to help me

Posted by
95 posts

Hi All, I've taken all your advice to heart. I have not traveled back to Europe but did fly to Florida (3 hour flight) twice since this posting. This is what I've discovered about myself. I may still suffer "motion sickness" (translation: nausea) and Dramamine seems to help in that regard (it pretty much puts me to sleep). It was the extended light-headedness-dizzy sensation that really bothered me, and made any vacation time much less enjoyable. I don't recall if it was this particular thread or another on this forum, but someone suggested Earplanes. I found them, I tried them, and it worked! Mind you, I still took the Dramamine for the nausea, but the awful, light-headed, dizzy sensation didn't plague me at all! I'm sure it's not the answer for everyone, but if not for those who kindly responded to my post, I would never have thought of trying earplugs; specifically Earplanes! Thank you! PS: I also drank plenty of water, and wore the wristbands. Not sure if it was any one thing, or the combination of everything....

Posted by
11450 posts

Diane, nice of you to post back,, its always good to hear how things went after people ask for ideas on the Helpline.
Its great the earplanes worked for you, I would have never thought of them,, thats one of many great things about these forums, so many ideas and solutions given for any given problem that one is bound to work.

Posted by
14905 posts

I have used Motilium (domperidone) for years. It combats nausea and vomiting without the side effect of drowsiness. Not available in the U.S., though.

Posted by
215 posts

Reading this thread, it got me thinking..my youngest gets car sick if we have to drive really early in morning..(other times of the day he is fine--??) Our flight to Europe is at night so I wasn't worried..but since it is a long flight..I started to think... would you suggest the bands for children? Anyone have a child with motion sickness who has any pointers? Not sure If I want to give him medicine..

thank you! (oh~ he is 10 years old) ~(ps we have flown before with him 6-7 times and he falls asleep.. longest distance from Boston is St. Kitts or Mexico) He has never been awake for a full or even half of a flight...

Posted by
9363 posts

My daughter used the wristbands successfully on our last trip. She is not a child, but is very small, and they fit her quite tightly. They might work for a 10 yr old -- no reason not to try them.

Posted by
98 posts

Lots of good ideas on this thread and I'm glad some of them have helped you on your last trip.

We were a part of four traveling and one person had severe motion sickness and rest of us read up on it so we would know what to expect and how to help. We were on planes, boats, trains and taxis and discovered the following;

Dramamine - worked but made her sleepy and left her with a slight hangover feeling.

Wristbands/patches - worked great for her when she remembered to put them on.

Ginger - a lifesaver for her. She took ginger pills then had ginger candy to nibble on as well. We even offered the ginger to several other travelers we ran into who were having motion problems.

Sitting forward - she did better when she sat facing forward even when traveling by train at night.

Staying hydrated - she felt this was one of the biggest factors to reducing the motion sickness and really focused on that prior to travel. (we all followed suit and avoided headaches, body aches and excessive fatigue)

Reducing high fat meals - not sure if this really helped but she stayed away from fatty foods on the days we were flying or traveling by train and she said she felt better.

As you can see it was truly a combination of factors that led to her reduced motion sickness. Sometimes we would notice she was looking a little pale and would remind her to nibble on some ginger or drink some water and she was able to have minimal motion sickness problems during the two weeks in Europe. I wish you the best in your travels!