Thursday, June 9, 2016

Motion Sickness (Update)

It is not unusual for us to get calls from folks who have a child or family member that suffers from motion sickness.  Females are more likely affected than males. People who suffer from migraines tend to be especially susceptible. While the majority of people who have the most issues with this are between 2-12, some younger babies seem to have trouble as well. We have some unfortunate moms who have babies that vomit every time they go out in the car.

If you know in advance that motion sickness is an issue, here are a few natural remedies that you may want to try. If you are someone who deals with this a lot, you will have plenty of car rides ahead to do your experiments and see what works for you.

Getting fresh air by having a window open is the first course of action. Do some distraction by playing a game that has your child looking out the window. I SPY is a good one. See if you can find interesting license plates or different colors or letters on signs. Don't sabotage your trip by bringing along trip activities that have your child focusing on things inside the car. Even the best passengers might be fine until they start reading or looking at a phone or map.

Most kids do best when their tummies are not too full or too empty. Little crackers to snack on might be useful.

There are wristbands that provide pressure to some acupressure points that seem to give relief. You can find these on Amazon. There are several brands. A popular one is called sea-bands. They come in multiple sizes and colors. Otherwise simply massage the wrist and lower arm area. The magic spot is located on the inner arm about 1.5 inches above the crease of the wrist, between the two tendons there.

Ginger seems to be very helpful. For older kids, there is a ginger gum specifically made for nausea (also available on Amazon). Find your favorite ginger cookie or candy. Trader Joe's has a wide assortment. Of course don't give anything to a young child that might be a choking hazard. Check out ginger lollipops (often marketed towards pregnant women.)

Motion Eaze is a topical aromatherapy that some folks swear by. You just dab a drop behind the ears and it provides relief within a few moments. Don't do this one for the first time before you embark on a long car ride. The smell is fairly pungent and other folks in the car might have a hard time with it. If you prefer not to apply a scent directly, there are several essential oils that have been found to help with nausea. Peppermint, spearmint, ginger and lemon are all on the list. Consider letting your child chose the favorite scent. You can apply a few drops to a cotton ball and put it in a baggy. The kids can take sniffs whenever they feel the need.

Hylands and Boiron both  make a homeopathic motion sickness remedy. As with many homeopathic remedies they gets mixed reviews. Homeopathy does seem to be the ticket for some folks, and is unlikely to cause trouble as long as it is used as directed. It might be worth a try. My husband likes to cry "placebo"
I say, "Bring it on, whatever works!"

If you are going on a long car ride, plane ride or boat trip and you have struck out with the natural remedies there are some medication options. Benedryl  is an antihistamine that often works quite well for motion sickness. It comes as a liquid. The bottle says for children over the age of 6, but in our office we do use it for younger kids. The dose usually agrees with the tylenol dose volume. Kids over 22 pounds would get 5 ml or one teaspoon. Always check with your own doctor's office to see what their policy is. Benedryl makes most kids sleepy, but don't count on that. It gets some kids hyper. You probably don't want to find that out on a cross country flight.

Dramamine is another choice. It is an over the counter medication specific for motion sickness. Children 2-6 years of age can take ½-1 tab; children 6-12 years of age can take 1-2 tabs. These chewable tablets can be repeated every 6 hours, no more than 3 doses in a 24 hour period. Start with the smaller dose first to see if it works. Giving the dose 30-60 minutes before travel is recommended. For kids over 6, Bonine is another reasonable choice. This medication can be given at the first sign of nausea and is less sedating.

For patients over the age of 12, if all else has failed some people use a scopolamine patch. This is a much stronger prescription medication that I would never use as a first line drug. Some of my motion sensitive older patients have found these valuable for cruises.

Luckily, kids do tend to grow out of it...except for an unfortunate few. If you or your child have chronic motion sickness issues, it can be eye related. Cover one eye for several moments to see if the symptoms ease. If this works, you may have something called vertical heterophoria (which I will be addressing in one of my upcoming posts) it is worth having a consult with an eye doctor. My favorite eye expert in this is Dr. Vincent Penza

Some people with chronic motion sickness have also gotten relief from chiropractic treatment.

For automobile trips, babies should stay rear facing as long as possible, BUT in rare and extreme cases if your child vomits every time they are in the car, and none of the above remedies have worked, I would try to turn them around and see if facing forward makes a difference. It isn't ideal, but having a vomiting child has it's own safety issues.

For the older kids, have them try very hard to give you as much warning as they can. Ideally they should try to get in the habit of warning the driver at the first twinge. The initial signs are usually paleness, yawning and restlessness. They may feel a little sweaty. This is quickly followed by the nausea and vomiting. With enough warning you might have time to pull over and get them out of the car for a couple of moments until the motion sickness eases. Being stoic is not a good plan; it usually backfires.

In my car, I actually kept barf bags in the glove compartment. When you fly, assuming yours remains unused, take it home with you.They may come in handy. If you don't have an actual barf bag, have a container or plastic bag that you can whisk out at a moment's notice.

Your trunk should be prepared:

A change of clothes (don’t forget socks)
A clean towel
A plastic bag for putting the soiled clothes in
Some wet wipes
A lollipop to get the yucky taste away
Febreze for cleaning off the seats (you will bless me)

While kids are usually the ones most apt to barf  in your car, motion sickness can afflict any of us at different times. I hope that some of these tips can help you out.

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