May 26, 2014

7 Ways to Avoid Motion Sickness

I've never forgotten the poor woman who got seasick while taking the jet boat to the Isle of Capri when I was in Italy a few years ago. I’m sure she spent most of her time dreading the return trip back to the mainland, rather than enjoying the beauty of the legendary island. And I'll be spending plenty of time on the water myself when I visit Italy again this summer.

Jet Boat Returning to Sorrento from Capri

Motion sickness is thought to be caused by conflicts in sensory input to the brain when travelling by car, boat or airplane. And I can’t handle motion as well as I did when I was young. (The last time I rode the Tilt-a-Whirl my head continued spinning for hours.) But I love spending time on the water so I did some research and came up with these seven tips to avoid motion sickness.

Jet Boat at Marina Piccola in Sorrento


1.  Eat a light meal
Avoid greasy or spicy foods and excessive alcohol. If you do begin to feel queasy while travelling, some foods can reduce saliva and stomach acidity so you may want to take along some plain crackers or a carbonated beverage. (Olives and lemon slices are other suggestions I came across.)

2.  Medications 
Antihistamines, dimenhydrinate or natural remedies such as ginger capsules should be taken at least 30-60 minutes before your departure. Some products may cause drowsiness. If you have a more serious problem with motion sickness, you may require a prescription anti-nausea medication.

3.  Acupressure
Stimulating a pressure point (the Nei-Kuan point) on the inside of your wrist has been shown to relieve nausea. Acupressure wrist bands use a small nob to apply the pressure but you can achieve similar results by pressing your fingertip to this spot for 30 seconds at a time. The Nei-Kuan point is located three finger widths from the wrist crease, between the two tendons of your forearm.

Excursion Boat in Villefranche-sur-Mer


4.  Location, location, location
Move to the front or middle of the boat, close to water level. Sit near a window if possible and face forward. (Sit in the front seat of a car and over the wing when flying.)

Not the best seat for motion sickness sufferers

5.  Fresh Air
Seek out a breeze, open a window if you can and avoid cigarette smoke. (And diesel fumes!)

6.  Visual Cues
Keep your head still and don’t read. Focus your vision on the horizon or a stationary object in the distance. Or close your eyes.

7.  Stay Hydrated.
Avoid the sun and carry bottled water with you so you don't get dehydrated.

Boats on the Mediterranean Sea

The next time you’re planning an outing where motion sickness might be a problem, try some of these tips and think positive thoughts. Then sit back and enjoy the ride!

Have you tried any of these methods to avoid or relieve motion sickness? How did they work for you?

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