How to Reduce the Traumatic Impact of Car Sickness

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My youngest daughter, unfortunately, suffers from car sickness. Because of a simple change we have recently introduced we now manage to maintain calmness throughout and my daughter now finds the whole situation far less traumatic.

Up to a few months ago, when my daughter was sick the smell (sorry if I’m being too graphic) would then make her sister feel sick and the resulting ‘scene’ would then become far too ‘dramatic’.

I think we all know, half the problem can be that the fear of being sick can increase the likelihood of it happening in the first place. So we have now found a way to reduce that fear and to quickly stop any mess or smell that in the past has contributed to the ‘drama’.

There are a number of things you can do to help the situation but I just want to share the one low cost change, we have introduced, that has undoubtedly made a big difference for us. 

Quite simply we have changed from using random supermarket plastic bags (or similar makeshift ones) to using proper specifically designed (leak proof and sealable) sick bags. The ones we use are called ‘Queezy Sacks’ but there are several other makes to choose from, which I understand are just as good. Making this switch has helped us enormously! 

These ‘Queezy Sacks’ are made of durable leak proof material so, once sealed, no smells or contents can get out. My daughter loves them as they are easy to hold over her face, attractive to look at and best of all, once sealed and out of sight, can be forgotten about until you reach a suitable bin, sometime later. The method of sealing the bag is built within the bag so nothing else is needed – no clips or anything. They keep the smells locked inside which really is brilliant. 

So, quite simply, for my youngest daughter, these new proper sick bags make the whole experience less traumatic. She has even said that just knowing they are close to her means that she now doesn’t worry about being sick. Now for my eldest daughter, because she knows the smell is going to go away quickly, she stays calm - and so everyone stays calm.

On a psychological level the greatly reduced level of anxiety has reduced the chances that she will actually be sick in the first place.

If you would like to give the ‘Queezy Sack’ a try, I am now selling these in my shop.

                                        Please follow this link: Queezy Sacks Available Here

For more information about car sickness please read on – it’s interesting stuff:-

Car sickness is a form of motion sickness. 

It happens because of conflicting signals (concerning how where and why we are moving) reaching our brains. When our brain struggles to make sense of the information reaching it we can suffer from motion sickness.

Signals concerning our movement come from 4 main places: i) the inner ear ii) skin pressure iii) muscles and joints iv) our eyes.

i) The inner ear – is responsible for balance. The inner ear contains fluid and little hairs which shift according to our body's movement. This lets our brains know what direction we are moving in.
ii) Skin pressure  - receptors tell the brain what parts of the body are stable - on the ground.
iii) Muscles and joints - receptors tell the brain which parts of the body are moving.
iv) Our eyes – feeds back information about our movement.

Our central nervous system uses all of this information to tell our brain what is happening. Now imagine if those signals don’t make sense. Let’s take the classic example of reading a book in the car – I think most of us already know that is not a great idea, but why?

Well, our inner ear and skin receptors are telling our brain that we are moving but our eyes are looking at a book which is not moving – so our brain struggles to make sense of that and the result is sickness.

I have listed, below, some suggestions on how to prevent car sickness. As we know, people suffer to varying degrees (discomfort, headaches, anxiety, nausea, dizziness and vomiting etc) and so some suggestions will work better than others, depending on the degree to which you suffer. Perhaps one of the main things to remember is that anxiety can increase the likelihood of it happening and increase its severity.

A few suggestions then:-
• Keep your eyes focused on the horizon.
• Do not focus on fast moving objects passing by.
• Sit in the front seat.
• Face forwards.
• Avoid negative conversation or moaning – keep the focus on cheery things, if possible.
• Avoid reading during the journey.
• Don’t have a big meal before or during travel – definitely avoid greasy foods.
• Don't consume alcohol or drugs before and during travel.
• Consider taking an Antihistamine medication. Many can be bought over-the-counter. Follow the instructions carefully. These seem to prevent and treat the nausea, vomiting, and dizziness caused by motion sickness by calming the stimulation of the inner ear.
• Consider the scopolamine skin patch. This medicated skin patch is applied behind the ear at least four hours in advance of the motion activity. The medication is slowly absorbed directly into the underlying skin.
• Regardless of the type of medication, these medicines are usually most effective when administered well before the motion activity takes place.
• Ginger powder capsules (or chewing on fresh or candied ginger root) are known to bring some benefit.
• Peppermint sweets or peppermint tea have been known to work.

That’s all for now. I’m sure there is a lot I have missed out but I hope the above information will help, at least in some way, to making future car journeys that little bit more comfortable. 


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