Motion and travel sickness is caused by a conflict of messages sent to your brain, i.e. your eyes tell you that you are not moving, but your sense of balance tells you that you are. It is common in young children, while those under 2 rarely suffer. The incidence of motion sickness reduces with age, although some adults still experience symptoms. Given a strong enough stimulus, anyone with a normal sense of balance will succumb. Any form of travel can produce symptoms, including air, sea and road.


  • Fatigue
  • Paleness
  • Sweating
  • Dizziness
  • Increased salivation
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
Certain factors need to be considered before deciding on the correct treatment
These include:
  • The length of the journey
  • The time of departure - as once vomiting starts there is little that can be done so the medicine must be given long enough before departure to be fully active when the journey begins
  • Whether the treatment is for a child or adult.
  • If the patient is taking any other medication.


Antihistamine medicines work on the area of the brain that control nausea and vomiting and are available to prevent motion sickness. All motion sickness medicines tend to cause drowsiness and alcohol should be avoided. Most need to be taken at least 1-2 hours before travel. Some examples include cinnarizine and meclizine.


Anticholinergics e.g. Hyoscine work by stopping the conflicting messages from being sent to the brain thereby preventing motion sickness. They also tend to cause drowsiness. They have a shorter duration of action (about 1-3 hours) and are therefore suitable for shorter journeys as they only need to be taken 20 minutes before the start of the journey.


Wrist straps which apply pressure to acupressure points on the wrists can used to alleviate the symptoms of motion sickness. The straps must be worn simultaneously on both wrists with the pressure point applied to a specific area of the wrist. They may be useful for drivers, or pregnant or breastfeeding women, or patients who can't take certain medicines.
Ginger capsules may be a useful alternative if a non-drowsy remedy is required.
Visit your doctor or pharmacist:
  • If the patient is taking other medication
  • If the patient is pregnant
Helpful Tips from Mulligans Pharmacy:

To avoid motion/travel sickness caused

  • By Ship: Request a cabin in the forward or middle of the ship, or on the upper deck. Some fresh air on the open deck of a ship or areas of less movement on the ship may help reduce symptoms.
  • By Plane: Ask for a seat over the front wing of the plane. Once airborne, direct the air vent to your face. Drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration and do not drink alcohol.
  • By Train: Take a seat near the front and next to the window. Make sure you face forward in the direction the train is travelling.
  • By Car: Drive or sit in the front passenger seat. For children in the back seat, ensure that they can see out the front window of the car. They are less likely to feel sick if they can concentrate on still objects outside the car. Children can be kept occupied by playing games when travelling, e.g. I spy.
  • Reading or writing should be avoided while travelling.
  • Avoid heavy, spicy or greasy foods before travelling.
  • Children should avoid fizzy drinks and sweets before travelling.
  • Don't smoke or sit near smokers.
  • Do not drive if taking medication due to their potential to cause drowsiness.
  • Do not watch or talk to another traveller who is experiencing motion sickness.
  • Travel bands may be used in conjunction with any of the treatment options mentioned.
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The information provided is intended solely as a guide. Please seek the advice of your pharmacist to determine whether a particular service, medication, or treatment programme will be of value to you. Always check the dosage directions carefully on all medicines. Never combine medicines without consulting your doctor or pharmacist. All health facts and information contained herein should not be a substitute for medical advice. The use of this site is subject to our Terms & Conditions.
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