Most people love traveling; however, getting sick on the road can ruin the whole trip. Travel sickness can quickly turn your dream trip or cruise into a miserable experience. For most people, the illness is a mild condition that improves with simple remedies such as exposure to fresh air or lying down to relax. However, it can be incapacitating for others, with severe headaches and constant vomiting. That is why it is essential to plan for travel health.
Causes of travel sickness
Motion sickness occurs when the senses send conflicting signals to the brain. It is caused by the disorientation of the physiological functions that help the brain keep track of the different forces acting on the body. The condition often manifests when people are using a form of motorized transport. When one is traveling, the brain receives mixed signals from the eyes, nerves, and inner ear, leading to an adverse reaction. Although motion sickness can affect anyone, studies have found that there is a strong genetic component involved – meaning you are more likely to suffer from the condition if your close family also do.
Travel sickness is characterized by a feeling of uneasiness and discomfort. Most people also experience excessive saliva production, headaches, cold sweat, paleness of the skin, dizziness, and fatigue. Sometimes the condition may deteriorate to nausea and vomiting.
Even though the condition can affect anyone, some groups are more vulnerable than others. In other instances, people who are not susceptible to the illness develop it due to adverse travel conditions.
- Children, pregnant women, and people with travel anxiety are the most vulnerable to the condition.
- Poorly ventilated vehicles, bumpy rides, poor quality roads, and putrid odors increase the risk of travel sickness.
- People who experience motion sickness with one form of transport are likely to develop the condition on other types of vessels.
The groups highlighted above require special travel health preparations to reduce the risk of illness.
Tips for preventing travel sickness
- Take proper rest before the trip. Ideally, you should have enough sleep because fatigue increases susceptibility to the illness
- Avoid nausea triggers such as fatty foods, acidic juices, alcohol, spicy food, noxious odors, and foods that cause bloating
- Avoid traveling with people who pollute the air inside the vehicle, such as smokers and alcohol consumers, because your senses may react adversely to these stimuli
- Choose vessels that are stable under turbulence because they experience minimal destabilization even on the bumpiest terrain. For instance, use four-wheel drives while driving through rough roads and boats with stabilization systems while riding through turbulent waters.
- Avoid reading while traveling because the eyes mislead the brain that you are still on a static ground
- Take travel sickness medication before the trip
- Take a position that will help the eyes see the horizon to minimize the risk of disorientation
- Relax by laying your head in a resting position and closing your eyes
- Take seats that experience minimum bumps, such as the front of the car and the middle of a boat
- Sit near the window to access fresh air
- Avoid anything that may be emitting a pungent odor because they will make you uneasy
- Take Ginger ale or tea and peppermint to counter nausea
- If you are traveling by plane, sit at the front to avoid vigorous movement
- Try relaxation exercises such as deep breathing and rumination
Travel health medication
Several commodity and prescription drugs help relieve the effects of travel sickness. You can buy over the counter drugs such as Dramamine for short trips but consult your doctor for suitable medication if you are going on a long journey. Scopolamine is the most commonly prescribed drug, though several alternatives are available.
Consult your doctor on the most suitable remedies for you with minimal side effects. These drugs prevent nerves from sending signals that induce nausea, so it is advisable to take them hours before the trip so that they will be active when the condition sets in.