Memorial Day weekend is one of the busiest weekends for traveling in the United States, kicking off a summer filled with fun in the sun! Traveling can be fun for the whole family until you start feeling queasy, quickly turning into a weekend of dread for those that suffer from motion sickness. It is a common condition that occurs in some people who travel by car, train, airplane, or boat.
Motion sickness is the feeling you get when the motion you sense with your inner ear is different from the motion you visualize. The brain and inner ear work together to form the vestibular and somatosensory systems, responsible for balance and posture. Motion sickness occurs when there is a miscommunication between your brain and inner ear and other sensory organs, such as your eyes, muscles, and joints. The difference causes an imbalance in the inner ear and brain resulting in symptoms such as dizziness, nausea, headache, sweating, belching, vomiting, salivation and hyperventilation in extreme cases.
Here are a few tips to help conquer motion sickness this Memorial Day weekend:
- Take the Lead – Motion sickness is preventable if you prepare in advance. Volunteer to drive, or if you’re the passenger, focus on the horizon. Avoid reading at all costs.
- Position Yourself for Success – The lower levels of a cruise ship experience the least movement. The middle of the plane near the wing tends to experience less turbulence; and of course, opt for an aisle seat.
- Self-talk is the Best Talk – Self-talk can be a powerful tool. Set expectations for yourself. For example, “I won’t get car sick this time”, “I’ll be fine as long as I don’t read”. Saying these sentences out loud can make a significant impact on lessening your motion sickness.
- As Told by Ginger – Taking one to two grams of ginger about 30 minutes before traveling can help alleviate symptoms of motion sickness. If raw ginger isn’t an option, try ginger gum or ginger ale. Always consult with your doctor before supplementing with ginger.
- Medicate! …but not too much – If all else fails, take an over-the-counter medication. Dramamine and Meclizine are good options to take about 30 minutes to an hour before travel. Always check the dosage before you take it.
Medicines can be used to prevent or treat motion sickness, although many of them have the unwanted side effect of making you sleepy. Come into the Ear, Nose and Throat Institute today and talk to our doctors about what is best for you for motion sickness.