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Managing and Preventing Motion Sickness

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Most of us look forward to a little time out from everyday life and work to recharge. To just relax and enjoy life with family and friends – whether during the summer time, special holiday or vacation at any time of the year. Do you experience nausea, dizziness, or vertigo in response to real or perceived movement?

Motion sickness is one of the most frequent medical problems encountered by travelers and others alike. Anyone can get motion sickness and most people have experienced it at one time or another. Some individuals seem to be naturally prone to motion sickness since childhood. The condition is commonly associated with various modes of travel, such as by car, plane, or ship. However, motion sickness also can result from perceived movement.

Motion sickness, and its derivatives, is the general overall feeling of illness that some people experience in response to certain kinds of movement. Motion sickness happens when your brain receives conflicting information from different body systems that help you maintain your sense of balance and equilibrium. Your brain relies on information from multiple body systems to balance itself and establish equilibrium.

Your inner ears send signals to your brain telling you that you are moving while your eyes send signals telling you that you are standing still. When the body receives conflicting information from these systems, the brain struggles to make sense of it. The result is that you feel nauseated and dizzy and experience motion sickness.

Certain conditions that may increase your risk of experiencing motion sickness include:

* pregnancy and menstruation
* illness or poor health
* a hangover
* being overly tired

Also, any medications that list nausea or vomiting as potential side effects, such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), estrogens, or antiobiotics, may make motion sickness symptoms more likely.

If travel or other activities make you feel dizzy, nauseous, or sick in other ways and you feel better once you stop moving or doing the activity, than you probably have motion sickness.

Evidence suggests that motion sickness affects as many as:

* 33%-50% of passengers on a plane flight with heavy turbulence
* 100% of cruise ship passengers in rough seas and rough conditions
* Approximately 28% of passengers traveling by bus

AND

* 58% of children suffer car sickness
* Space-motion sickness occurs in 50% of shuttle astronauts
* Incapacitating airsickness occurs in 29% of airline pilots
* Motion sickness is more common in women, especially during pregnancy or menstruation
* Motion sickness is more common in individuals who have migraine headaches
* It has been found that fear or anxiety can promote symptoms of air and motion sickness

Read on to learn about the symptoms, causes, prevention, treatment and management to stop motion and travel sickness in its tracks.

Symptoms Associated with Motion Sickness

The most commom symptoms of motion sickness include dizziness, nausea, and vomiting.

The symptoms of motion sickness may range from mild to completely incapacitating, depending on your susceptibility in experiencing the symptoms and the duration of the activity that is causing the symptoms.

Motion sickness usually makes you feel dizzy and nauseous but you also can have other symptoms, such as vomiting, drowsiness, rapid breathing, headache, pallor, sweating, lightheadedness, increased salivation, flushed skin, and even depression.

People suffering from motion sickness also may experience:

* fatigue
* sleepiness
* cold sweat
* weakness
* pale skin
* headache
* increased salivation
* rapid breathing
* difficulty concentrating
* frequent yawning
* buzzing sensation
* depression/apathy
* sensations of body warmth
* panic

Symptoms such as awareness of your upper abdomen, dizziness, headache, increased temperature, nausea, pallor, sweat, and vomiting can take the fun out of flying in an airplane, riding on a bus, riding in a car, riding on a roller coaster, sailing in a boat, and traveling by train.

Causes of Motion Sickness

Feeling Anxious – Do you ever feel anxious or fearful before traveling?

Many people are afraid of feeling sick while traveling. Unfortunately, fear and/or anxiety about movement can increase your risk of motion sickness and even make it worse. Preventive strategies may help you feel cool, calm, and collected in the face of fearsome triggers.

Environmental and Behavioral Factors – Which biological factors worsen your symptoms?

You need to recognize the environmental and behavior factors that contribute to your motion sickness symptoms. Knowing that bumpy movements, fast speeds, poor ventilation, sudden, jerky movements, and swerving, winding movements aggravate your symptoms is the first step in treating your condition.

Do your best to minimize environmental factors and avoid behaviors that contribute to motion sickness like long, rough, jerky and bumpy rides during travel; impaired visibility; poor ventilation; strong or unpleasant order; eating a large meal; eating dairy or spicy, greasy, or salty foods; drinking alcohol; smoking; reading; anticipating movement; and sitting in areas prone to greater movement during travel such as back of the plane, near the front of a boat, etc..

Types of activities that can cause you to experience symptoms of motion sickness:

* Flying in an airplane
* Riding on a bus
* Riding in a car
* Riding in an elevator
* Riding on a roller coaster
* Riding on “virtual reality” simulators
* Sailing in a boat
* Staying on a cruise ship
* Surfing
* Traveling by train
* Watching movies

Biological factors than can worsen your symptoms of motion sickness:

* Anxiety
* An empty stomach
* A long-term medical condition
* A short-term illness
* Medication
* Menstrual cycle
* My mind
* Pregnancy

There are a variety of effective techniques for managing and preventing motion and travel sickness and making travel, or perceived movement, more comfortable and enjoyable for you and your family.

Strategies for Managing and Preventing Motion Sickness

Prevention is the best treatment for motion sickness. Dizziness, nausea, vomiting, and other symptoms associated with motion sickness are difficult to alleviate once they have set in.

A good rule is to try the simplest strategies first such as alternative treatments and self-help. There are a variety of behavioral interventions and alternative treatments to help you manage motion sickness.

Motion Sickness Prevention Self-Help Checklist

1. Minimize Triggers Do your best to avoid or minimize factors that may aggravate your motion sickness symptoms. Seek out areas of lesser movement on a boat or plane, such as a cabin in the middle of a ship or a seat near the airplane wing. Use a headrest and face forward while traveling. Focus on far away stationary objects, such as the horizon. Seek out fresh air and avoid unpleasant odors.

2. Eat and Drink Well Avoid greasy, salty, and spicy foods, as well as dairy, before travel or the activity that triggers your symptoms. Alcohol and smoking can make your symptoms worse. If you’re prone to fear and anxiety, practice deep breathing or other relaxation exercises to help ward off your symptoms.

3. Follow Any Medication Instructions Closely If you take an alternative remedy to prevent your symptoms, remember to take it approximately 1 hour before travel or exposure to some other trigger.

General advice for avoiding motion sickness:

1. Eat a light meal no less than 3 hrs. before exposure
2. Avoid dairy products and foods high in protein, calories, or sodium before exposure
3. Avoid alcohol, smoking, and disagreeable odors
4. Increase ventilation or exposure to cool, fresh air
5. Avoid visual stimuli (eg, reading, watching videos)
6. Focus on a stable horizon or external object
7. Limit head movements (eg, press head into headrest)
8. Stay in central location on boat or in airplane
9. Sit in front seat of car or drive rather than be a passenger
10. Lie in supine position

Common Treatments for Motion Sickness

1. Acupressure bands place continuous pressure on the inside of your wrist preventing the symptoms of motion sickness.
2. Herbal supplements such as ginger and peppermint have been proven to be effective in alleviating and treating symptoms of motion sickness.
3. Psychological and behavioral interventions that may help you beat motion sickness include cognitive behavioral therapy, progressive muscle relaxation, diaphragmatic breathing, and habituation.

Alternative Treatments

Research indicates that the following non-medication alternative therapies may be helpful in reducing motion sickness symptoms:

* Ginger (Zingiber officinalis). Modern research confirms its effectiveness in relieving the symptoms of nausea, vomiting, indigestion, flatulence and dizziness. Working mainly in the digestive tract, Zingiber boosts digestive fluids and neutralizes acids, making it an effective alternative to anti-nausea medication, but without the usual unpleasant side effects. Compounds in ginger help calm the stomach by relaxing the intestinal tract. Zingiber has strong anti-inflammatory and pain relieving properties and is also used to treat arthritis and other inflammatory diseases.

* Acupressure. This gentle, needle-free alternative to acupuncture may reduce nausea and vomiting associated with motion sickness. Applying pressure approximately two finger-widths below the inside of the wrist has been suggested to provide relief. Several elastic wristbands are commercially available that stimulate these points when worn.

* Peppermint and black horehound. Mint has been used for centuries to relieve indigestion, nausea and heartburn. Modern research has demonstrated its effectiveness in soothing the symptoms of diverticulosis, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and other digestive disorders. Mentha piperita is widely cultivated for medicinal uses and also has anti-inflammatory and anti-spasmodic properties. It relaxes the muscles of the digestive tract and stimulates the flow of natural digestive juices and bile, thereby assisting healthy digestion.

Motion sickness is an exceedingly common disorder. Appropriate management should be based on your personal characteristics and the type and length of the exposure and should include general preventive and management techniques. Education for you about the causes of motion sickness and how to prevent it can alleviate anxiety and enhance your enjoyment of travel and recreation.

Do not let the discomfort of motion sickness disrupt your travel plans. Motion sickness can be prevented and you and you family can enjoy your exciting travels in the best of health! Native Remedies offers many effective, safe and 100% natural remedies for motion sickness and all the associated conditions and symptoms that affect you; and they have NO SIDE EFFECTS and are NON-ADDICTIVE unlike prescription medications with dangerous side effects.

Sources: RealAge, Inc; MDtravelhealth; Medic8 Travel Guide; Paul M. Gahlinger, MD, PhD.

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