Motion Sickness! What can I do?

I’m going on a cruise and I am worried about motion sickness!   Is there anything I can do to prevent it or at least reduce the symptoms?

Lots of people experience motion sickness during travel by sea, train, car, or air.  Typically, symptoms include dizziness and nausea, which may lead to vomiting.  Other symptoms may include headache and sweating and a generalized feeling of being unwell.

You can take certain antihistamines such as Gravol® or Benadryl® to help prevent or reduce your nausea and vomiting.  These can make you drowsy however.

If you anticipate rough weather ahead, Scopalamine® may be helpful.  It is a transdermal patch you put behind your ear 8 hours prior to exposure (requires a prescription).  Discuss with your travel medicine provider and/or physician whether this medication is recommended for you.

Other tips that may help you feel better include:

  • avoid high sodium foods or those high in fat and protein including cheese and milk products
  • eat small frequent snacks (e.g., whole grain crackers)
  • maintain hydration and limit alcohol and caffeine
  • avoid reading
  • stare at something stationary in the distance and stay on deck
  • try ginger flavored lozenges (may hasten gastric emptying)