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How to Beat Motion Sickness

How to Beat Motion Sickness
by Dr. Jo Lichten

Jet Lag AdviceDo you ever feel queasy when riding in a car, plane or boat? We experience motion sickness (including nausea and vomiting) when our brain receives conflicting information about our balance and body position. When you experience the initial symptoms of motion sickness including drowsiness, fatigue and stomach queasiness, try these suggestions:

Move to a stable location. If you're on a ship or plane, move to the center where it tends to be more stable. Simply closing your eyes and relaxing can be very effective against nausea. On a boat or ship, go up to the top deck and look out at the water to put your eyes and inner ear in sync. If you experience motion sickness frequently, practice relaxation on a regular basis so you'll get a quick response.

Move to the front. In a car, move to the front seat or at least face forward and get some fresh air by opening the window. Look at the horizon and avoid reading. It may also help to close your eyes or stop the car and take a break from moving.

Eat lightly and avoid alcohol. Pay attention to what you eat — you may find some foods soothing and others may bring on nausea.
Try ginger. Ginger is a traditional Chinese herbal remedy and is available in pills, chewable gingerroot and as candies. Side effects seem to be minimal but it's always wise to check with your doctor before taking it since it has been shown to have some blood-thinning effects. Note: There isn't enough ginger in gingerale to be effective.

Ask your doctor for medication. There are many medications (both over-the-counter and prescription) that can effectively prevent or treat nausea and vomiting. Each have side effects and may cause interactions with other medications. Over-the-counter medications, which prevent motion sickness, include meclizine (Bonin) and dimenhydrinate (Dramamine). Prescription meds include Transderm Scop (a prescription patch placed behind the ear in advance of symptoms) to prevent motion sickness and promethazine (Phenergan) for treating motion sickness.

Try a preventive device. Although not scientifically proven, there are wristbands that provide electrical stimulation or accupressure. As with every other unscientifically proven device or supplement, it's wise to use common sense and check with your doctor before using it. Even if there is no medically proven benefit, it may work through the placebo effect.

Grab a motion sickness bag. When all else fails, be ready.

Dr. Jo helps busy people stay healthy, sane, and productive through her books, articles, media appearances, and speaking engagements. She has presented more than 1000 programs to companies and conventions. Dr. Jo has written four books including: Dining Lean, How to Stay Healthy & Fit on the Road, and Dr Jo's No Big Deal Diet. Her Web site is