‘I’m a pharmacist – these simple methods will banish travel sickness’

Car sickness is a common problem that affects millions of Brits (Image: Getty Images)

A survey by the RAC found that one in five of us experience motion sickness, meaning millions of Brits have to deal with the uncomfortable affliction when travelling.

Despite our best efforts to avoid it, it can lead to vomiting, dizziness, sweating and headaches among other symptoms.

Although it might seem like feeling sick during a long journey is inevitable for this reason, there are steps we can take to try to lessen the side effects or even prevent it completely.

One health expert revealed some simple tricks to banish car sickness quickly.

Working alongside Cinch, Abbas Kanani – the superintendent pharmacist for Chemist Click, shared his four top tips for this very reason.

Travel sickness can cause vomiting, headaches, dizziness, sweating and other symptoms (Image: Getty)

Ditch the drive-thru

If you’re planning a long drive, starting it with a drive-thru meal might sound great, but it can cause you problems in the long run.

Sitting in a car with a full stomach – especially with something that might not always agree with you – could be a recipe for disaster.

Abbas explained: “Eating a heavy meal before travelling can lead to increased gastric activity and digestion.

“This heightened activity can make your stomach more sensitive and prone to experiencing nausea or discomfort during travel. The combination of stomach movement from digestion and the motion of the vehicle can intensify feelings of sickness.

“Also, when your stomach is still processing a large meal while you’re in motion, it can contribute to a sense of fullness, bloating and discomfort. Instead, opt for light, easily digestible meals or snacks.”

Natural remedies

If you can’t resist your favourite road-trip food or simply feel a bit queasy before setting off, some natural remedies can help calm your stomach.

Ginger sweets as well as ginger tea can help ease sickness (Image: Getty)

“Ginger can be effective as a natural remedy for nausea and travel sickness,” Abbas said.

“Scientific research has found that ginger and its compounds may increase digestive responsiveness and speed up stomach emptying, which may reduce nausea.

“It seems to aid digestion and saliva flow, and its anti-inflammatory properties also support the release of blood-pressure-regulating hormones to calm your body and reduce nausea.

“You can consume ginger in various forms, such as ginger tea, ginger candies, or even ginger capsules.”

If you don’t like the taste of ginger, peppermint is a potential alternative.

Abbas continued: “Peppermint contains compounds like menthol, which has a calming effect on the stomach muscles and can help reduce feelings of nausea and vomiting associated with travel sickness.

He advised against using your phone or other devices in the car (Image: Getty)

“You can try drinking peppermint tea or sucking on peppermint sweets to help relieve travel sickness symptoms.”

Avoid your devices

If you’re a passenger on a long trip, it’s understandable to want some entertainment.

However, whether you’re picking up a book or scrolling through social media, looking down can enhance the feeling of travel sickness.

Abbas said: “Avoid reading or looking at screens, as these activities can worsen the symptoms. When you’re in a moving vehicle, focusing your gaze on a distant point can help alleviate motion sickness symptoms.

“By focusing on a distant point, such as a horizon or a stable object in the distance, you provide your visual system with a stable reference point. This helps to synchronise the information received by your eyes and your vestibular system, reducing the sensory conflict.

“This helps your brain better understand the motion and reduces the likelihood of experiencing travel sickness symptoms.”

Deep breathing

Sometimes travel sickness might catch you unprepared. In that case deep breathing might be your best option.

“Deep breathing activates the body’s relaxation response, triggering the parasympathetic nervous system,” Abbas said.

“This response helps counteract the effects of stress and anxiety, which can worsen travel sickness symptoms.

“Deep breathing can help mitigate nausea, dizziness, and discomfort by inducing a state of calmness. Deep breathing involves taking slow, deliberate breaths that fully expand the lungs. This deep inhalation allows for a greater intake of oxygen, which can positively impact overall well-being.

“Sufficient oxygenation can help regulate various bodily functions, reducing the likelihood of experiencing travel sickness symptoms.”

For more extreme cases or if nothing else is working, medication might be your best option. These can help either before you travel – if you regularly get travel sickness – or during the journey if you’re already starting to feel nauseous.

Abbas added: “Hyoscine hydrobromide, also known as Kwells or Joy-Rides, is most commonly recommended.”

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