such as Lucia
for trips with
Navigating Vail’s mountains, Costa Rica’s jungles
and Tuscany’s country roads is easier with
help from the Traveler’s Clinic
much to feel
off balance when you’re on
the road (or in a plane or on
a train). When we change
our physical environment,
slightly or dramatically, we can be
more sensitive to physical ailments
— without the benefit of our existing
healthcare structure. Sometimes you
can’t avoid an adventure that’s a little
under-the-weather, but you can plan
ahead and be prepared for the issues
you’re most likely to encounter.
Lucia London, advanced registered
nurse practitioner with Vail Valley
Medical Center Traveler’s Clinic, says
motion sickness consists of a group of
signs and symptoms that develop in
response to real or perceived motion.
“These include cold sweats, nausea,
hypersalivation, vomiting or sensation
of body warmth,” explains London.
“Motion sickness can result from
exposure to movement or from visual
suggestion of movement; traveling
through water, on land or in air can
trigger motion sickness, although
sea sickness is most common.”
Susceptibility to motion sickness
varies individually, London says, but is
most common in women, especially
during pregnancy, as well as in
children ages 2 to 12, and those who
suffer from migraine headaches.
What to Take
London recommends taking
medications for motion sickness before
the symptoms set in, so it’s important to
pay attention to your physical reactions
when traveling — and plan ahead.
prescriptions are available for mild to
moderate motion sickness, she says,
including Bonine or Dramamine. These
medications can cause drowsiness,
so driving and alcohol consumption
should be avoided. London says that
for longer journeys, a scopolamine
transdermal patch may be necessary;
it is placed behind the ear and can
provide up to 72 hours of medication.
“There are some non-medicinal
therapies that are appealing to travelers,
such as acupuncture wristbands,”
London says. “Although controlled
trials are limited or do not show clear
benefits in a number of clinical trials.”
How to Avoid
London recommends the
following ways to help stop
motion sickness before it starts:
Select a position in the most
stable part of a vehicle, such
as the mid-point of a ship, or
the wing seats on a plane.
Ensure a seat with good visibility.
Focus on a distant point, or
take over driving the vehicle.
Create good ventilation.
Eat small, low-fat meals;
avoid alcohol and smoking.
Avoid becoming overheated.
Take an over-the-counter
motion sickness medication
before symptoms set in.