Back to motion sickness
Sat, 7 Oct 1995 17:17:54 +1000 (EST)
In preparing for an overseas trip, I came across the following note on motion
sickness. My wife, who is ethnic Chinese, always recomended ginger, but
unforunately our son hates it!
Medical College of Wisconsin International Travelers Clinic
Preventing and Treatment
Motion sickness occurs when the body is subjected to accelerations of
movement in different directions or under conditions where visual contact with
the actual outside horizon is lost. The balance center of the inner ear then
sends information to the brain that conflicts with the visual clues of
apparently standing still in the interior cabin of a ship or airplane. From
one third to one half of airline passengers will experience some degree of
motion sickness when encountering heavy turbulance. It has been found that
fear or anxiety can lower the threshold for experiencing symptoms, however
some individuals seem to be naturally prone to motion sickness since
childhood. Symptoms generally consist of dizziness, fatigue, and nausea which
may progress to vomiting.
Prevention is best acomplished by seeking areas of lesser movement in an
interior location of a large ship or by facing forward and looking outside a
ship or plane. Several medications are now available both by prescription and
over the counter that may prevent or limit the symptoms of motion sickness.
If medications are necessary, they are best taken at least one hour before
embarking. The over the counter medications Dramamine or Bonine can be
very effective for short trips or when symptoms occurr intermittently.
For longer trips, a prescription medication called Transderm-Scop (not
currently available) comes in the form of a patch can be worn behind the ear
for up to three days at a time. Side-effects of these medications usually
consist of sedation and dry mouth and they should not be taken by people who
have glaucoma or urinary obstruction. Recent studies have shown that Ginger
root may be as effective as the other drug treatments but is associated with
fewer side effects.
By Gary P. Barnas, M.D.
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