Motion sickness afflicts several of my children. One gets air sick and the other struggles with car travel. As a kid, I’d get seasick and car sick. Here’s a first aid kit I’ve assembled for children who suffer from travel sickness on airplanes. These tips help with motion sickness on car or boat rides, too.
* Recognize motion sickness. Symptoms include headaches, dizziness, lightheaded feelings, nausea and fainting. Young children may act fearful of the vehicle that makes them feel sick.
* Know the causes. Motion sickness may be triggered by fear or travel anxiety. According to PubMed Health, Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV) also causes it. Medications may trigger motion sickness; so does quitting certain ones. I’ve experienced antidepressant discontinuation syndrome coming off from Paxil. The brain zaps and dizziness get worse with movement.
* Keep trips short. Longer flights and car rides trigger motion sickness. When driving take rest breaks. In air travel, choose flights with layovers.
* Reduce external stimuli. Smells, sights and sounds trigger motion sickness. Temperature, changes in cabin pressure, fuel smells and turbulence spur motion sickness. To counteract these, pack a blanket, cuddle toy (even for teens), sweater, sleep mask, earplugs or an iPod, gum and a scented pomander in your carry-on. Avoid sitting near window or engines or in the back of the plane.
* Feed before flight. Traveling on an empty stomach sets off motion sickness. Even if she says she’s not hungry, make her eat a light meal or provided airline snack. Avoid greasy or spicy foods. I once got sick eating eggs before a bus trip.
* Avoid dehydration. As a kid, I fainted from sun exposure and lack of hydration while sailing. Dehydration can cause sensations of motion sickness. On airline flights, bring an empty bottle and fill when you’re past security.
* Inform the flight attendant. He’s trained to deal with motion sickness and may have other tips.
* Try caffeine. Sugared caffeinated beverages can settle motion sickness nausea. Request soda and water on the plane.
* Administer an antihistamine. Give two diphenhydramine (Benadryl) tablets for kids over 12 (one for younger kids). Use caution on shorter flights or those with layovers. Antihistamines make kids groggy. They’ll need help managing luggage, debarking, navigating the airport and boarding the next flight. A parent should supervise and dispense any medication, even with teens.
* Comfort. Seat child in the middle or near the aisle. Rub her back or hold her hand. When you land, get her out in the fresh air as soon as possible.
It’s possible to travel comfortably even with a child with motion sickness