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Motion Sickness

Remedies for motion sickness range from simple foods to strong medicine.

motion sickness ReliefBand
Photo caption
A ReliefBand sends electric jolts to the P6 acupuncture point.


You know the symptoms. Clammy palms, dizziness, nausea—the trip-wrecking onset of motion sickness. It happens when the brain gets mixed signals from other parts of the nervous system (on a boat your muscles say you're on stable ground, but your inner ear begs to differ). Remedies range from simple foods to strong medicine.

TRY Crackers, a plain bagel, or dry cereal
IF YOU . . . Have mild nausea or are caring for a child who has motion sickness
BECAUSE Carbohydrates can soothe an upset stomach by neutralizing gastric acids; they'll also sustain blood sugar levels and give you some energy. Carbs go through the digestive process quickly, while fatty foods take their time. The faster the better: You don't want a full stomach when you're feeling queasy.

TRY ReliefBand or Sea-Band
IF YOU . . . Have benefited from acupuncture or acupressure in the past
BECAUSE These wristbands stimulate the P6 acupuncture point on the inside of the wrist, believed in Eastern medicine to squelch nausea. The ReliefBand (pictured) sends electric jolts to the point; the Sea-Band relies on pressure. Medical evidence in support of this method is beginning to emerge.

TRY Dramamine, Bonine, or Marezine
IF YOU . . . Have tried milder remedies to no avail
BECAUSE These over-the-counter antihistamines sedate the nerves of the inner ear, making them less sensitive to upheaval. The downside? Sleepiness is the drugs' most common side effect. If you're not sure how you'll be affected, start with half a dose.

TRY Scopolamine patch
IF YOU . . . Will be exposed to nausea-inducing conditions for several days
BECAUSE It's effective for up to three days. You stick the prescription-only patch behind your ear and the medicine seeps into your bloodstream, depressing the central nervous system. In one study of 95 adults, the patch reduced motion-related nausea by 75 percent.

Photography by Craig Maxwell


This article was first published in September 2004. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.