Travel sickness is actually motion sickness and is caused when the brain is unable to compute the exact location of the body in motion! This often happens if you are sitting still on a bobbing boat, or in a plane travelling at speed – or when on a fairground attraction which whips your body one way and your head the other, as in dodgems or swingboats.
Travel sickness is extremely debilitating and upsetting, as not only is it uncomfortable to experience, it can also wreck your holiday – or at least the journey to and from your resort and any excursions which involve travelling, even in a coach or car.
There are over-the-counter medications available for travel sickness, as well as prescription drugs and therapies – and natural remedies like wristbands and anti-nausea remedies like chewing ginger or liquorice.
Some drugs have to be taken hours in advance of your journey, so it is best to do a little research before you are ready to depart on your trip and choose the best remedies to help you tackle travel sickness.
Kwells contain the active ingredient hyoscine hydrobromide and are available over-the-counter to help tackle feelings of nausea caused through travel sickness or overeating. Hyoscine is the active ingredient in many prescription drugs used to treat vomiting or nausea and is anti spasmodic which soothes stomach cramps and works on the areas of the brain responsible for triggering vomiting; as well as helping to maintain balance in the inner ear, which if disrupted can cause feeling of dizziness and vertigo which can trigger nausea. Hyoscine can make you feel sleepy – and pregnant or breast feeding women should not take medicines containing hyoscine. There are other medical conditions, such as prostate trouble, which may also prevent you from taking hyoscine, so speak to your GP or pharmacist before buying medicines containing it or log on to Patient.co.uk for more information.
Wristbands for motion or travel sickness are available from high street pharmacies like Boots and work by using acupressure on the wrist to prevent signals being sent to the vomit centre in the brain. Wristbands are a natural way of preventing travel sickness and so are perfect for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, as well as children – or those already taking medications.
Antihistamines and anti-vertigo medication can also be effective at treating motion sickness, although it is better to speak to your GP before self-medicating with these.
Ginger is highly effective at preventing nausea but should not be used if you are taking blood thinning medication like Warfarin. You can use ginger in any form – chewy sweets, ginger biscuits or a tea made from fresh ginger or powered ginger and hot water can all help prevent nausea and vomiting.
Liquorice is another natural remedy for sickness and is easy to carry round with you – although if taken in excess may cause diarrhoea.
Drinking flat or still lemonade which is sharp rather than too sweet can help with nausea or queasiness – and Robertson’s Lemon Barley Water is a good option to take with you on a journey if you tend to suffer from travel sickness, as even tea and coffee can turn your stomach en route.
It is common perception that peppermint can prevent nausea and in some cases it can help – but one of the side effects of excess peppermint oil is vomiting and sickness, so be careful, as over-the-counter medications containing peppermint might actually make you feel worse (anyone who has had a gut reaction to a powdery peppermint indigestion tablet will know the feeling).
Certain other flavours may also make you feel sick – such as strawberry or orange – so if you suffer from motion sickness and the thought of drinking or eating something literally turns your stomach, it is best to avoid it.
If you are suffering with sickness whilst on holiday and it’s down to the hygiene or food at your hotel don’t be afraid to complain and try to get some money back. If this proves difficult, you can make a claim for compensation by instructing a holiday solicitor.