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Best travel sickness tablets

woman at train station travel sickness bag tablets
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Travel sickness shouldn’t get in the way of your next adventure. If you feel unwell when you travel, anti-sickness tablets or bands may be the best remedy for you.

Whether you travel by car, train, boat or plane, motion sickness often happens when you're a passenger in a moving vehicle. Fortunately, there are a few ways you can ease the symptoms and minimise feeling unwell, read on to find out.

How do you know if you have travel sickness?

There are a few common signs of motion sickness, though it can affect everyone differently.

If you think you're experiencing travel sickness you may:

  • Feel nauseous without being sick
  • Have cold sweats
  • Have pale skin
  • Experience dizziness
  • Have headaches
  • Be vomiting

Causes of motion sickness

Motion sickness is caused by mixed signals to the brain, where your inner ear sends different messages to what your eyes can actually see. As a result, you can feel sick when you experience motion that is felt but not seen or seen but not felt.

So, when you’re on a bumpy road or experiencing flight turbulence, it can make you feel ill. You can also feel travel sick when you look out of the window because your eyes see motion even though you are sitting still.

What is the best thing to take for motion sickness?

If you experience motion sickness, you may find travel sickness tablets helpful. Over-the-counter medicines with the active ingredient promethazine teoclate are often suggested for those who feel nauseous when they travel. It's an antihistamine which works by preventing feelings of sickness and supressing your reflex to vomit.

Promethazine teoclate can may people feel drowsy and interfere with other medications, so it’s important to consult a professional before taking them. It is also important to get medical advice if you're pregnant or breastfeeding.

Another well-known travel sickness medication is cinnarizine, which comes in 15mg pills. This also comes with side effects so it's best to talk to a healthcare professional about which travel sickness remedies are best for you.

Motion sickness patches are another available option, which can be prescribed by a GP.

Can a pharmacist help with motion sickness?

Yes, travel sickness tablets for the prevention and relief of travel sickness, general nausea, sea sickness and vertigo are available from pharmacies. So, if you feel sick when travelling, a pharmacist can recommend the medication that best suits you. However, if you're feeling nausea at other times, you should seek advice from a doctor or pharmacist.

Travel sickness medicine includes:

  • Tablets
  • Patches
  • Acupressure bands

These remedies are suitable for different ages. Children may find dissolvable tablets easier to take, whereas an acupressure band may be helpful for you.

With travel sickness there is not a cure-all medicine, instead it may take some trial and error to fine what is right for you.

How do travel sickness bands work?

Travel sickness wristbands help relieve nausea and vomiting by using an acupressure technique. The drug-free method involves putting acupressure on the P6 (Nei-Kuan) point between the two central tendons near the wrist. The plastic stud on the band applies constant pressure on each wrist avoiding and relieving the feeling of nausea.

Some people may find travel sickness bands effective for relieving motion sickness symptoms. Most sickness bands are suitable for children and pregnant women, so talk to your pharmacist to see if this option is best for you or your family.

How to ease motion sickness yourself

There are ways that you can help to ease travel sickness while you’re experiencing it or if you think you may feel unwell on a journey. It is said that root ginger, ginger tea and peppermint tea can be effective in settling the stomach when you feel sick.

It's also advisable to avoid:

  • Heavy, spicy or rich meals
  • Drinking alcohol before you travel

Instead, stock up on plain snacks such as crackers, along with plenty of drinking water.

Many people feel unwell when they try to read, text, use an electronic tablet or watch a film as a passenger in a car. It can help to ease the symptoms of car sickness by talking to other passengers or listening to music with your eyes closed. As well as trying motion sickness tablets or bands, it can also help ease nausea by opening a car window or breaking up long journeys with fresh air.

Try to minimise movement by sitting at the front of the car or avoiding looking out at passing vehicles. If you can drive, being the driver of the car is also said to help ease sickness. This is because your brain is less likely to receive mixed messages as it anticipates the movement of the road.

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How do you stop travel sickness?

There are a few ways to minimise the symptoms of travel sickness, such as:

  • Anti-sickness tablets
  • Motion sickness bands
  • Ginger tea or tablets, which are said to settle the stomach
  • Opening a window for fresh air
  • Closing your eyes and taking deep breaths
  • Talking to others or listening to music
  • Drinking plenty of water
  • Avoid reading, watching films or using electronic devices
  • Trying not to look out at moving vehicles or objects
  • Breaking up long journeys for fresh air or a walk
  • Avoiding alcohol or heavy meals before travelling
  • Keeping motion to a minimum by siting at the front of a car
  • Avoiding theme park rides if they make you feel unwell

Everyone is different and travel sickness can affect people in different ways. You may find a combination of these treatments and recommendations may help you. You can always talk to a pharmacist in your local store if you’re worried about travel sickness and what medication or strategy might be right for you.

Why do I get motion sickness so easily?

Motion sickness is most common in children and pregnant women; however, any one can get motion sickness. It simply depends on how intense the motion you are experiencing is whether you will be affected. If you have migraines, you may be more likely to have motion sickness as well.

How can I relieve other types of sickness?

You may be experiencing sickness as a result of a migraine, surgery or certain treatments. In these cases, your doctor may be able to prescribe you an anti-sickness medication to relieve nausea and vomiting.

If you have an upset stomach, your pharmacist may be able to help you with an over-the-counter remedy such as pepto-bismol. However, if you're experiencing morning sickness during pregnancy, a natural remedy such as acupressure bands, ginger or peppermint tea could be recommended for you.

Make sure to stock up on travel essentials before your trip, or visit a local LloydsPharmacy while you're away.

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