Motion Sickness Fixes

Consumer Reports' ShopSmart

by ShopSmart, PassPorter Guest Contributor
Last modified 6/5/2008

The following is an article featured in the July 2008 issue of ShopSmart.


Don’t let a queasy stomach ruin your next cruise, road trip, or flight. The July issue of ShopSmart, from the publisher of Consumer Reports – which hit newsstands Tuesday, May 20 -- has tips on what to do when motion sickness hits.

First, try these: GINGER AND WRISTBANDS Although far from proven, these are safe and worth a shot, especially for mild symptoms. Ginger root, typically sold in candies and capsules, has the most supporting evidence. Occasional use of up to 250 milligrams four times a day is considered safe for most people, including women who might be pregnant. 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.

Next, try this: ANTIHISTAMINES 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.

If all else fails, try: PRESCRIPTION DRUGS 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.

How 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.




About the Author: Consumer Reports' ShopSmart is published every two months by the same organization that brings you Consumer Reports. Information, sample articles, and subscriptions are available at http://shopsmart.typepad.com/


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Updated 6/5/2008 - Article #151 



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