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My wife is very prone to motion sickness, especially on air flights. In the past we've handled this with Dramamine (Dimenhydrinate), which helped quite a bit.

Unfortunately, my wife's reaction to the Dramamine was invariably to fall into a deep, groggy sleep for the duration of the flight. This is her reaction to most antihistamines.

We're planning on taking a trip to Europe next year, and I'm concerned about the idea of essentially drugging her into unconsciousness for the duration of an extended overseas flight.

Is there any other recourse to prevent motion sickness that would be effective for a long haul (7+ hours) flight?

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I dunno. If I hated flying, the idea of "waking up" when we got there and not remembering the entire flight would actually be appealing to me. –  Michael Pryor Jun 22 '11 at 21:38
    
What's wrong with drugging her if it works? Sounds like she'll get some quality nap time on the plane as well, which I'm pretty envious of. –  jozzas Jun 22 '11 at 22:19
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It's not a particularly pleasant sleep. On the last trip we took, which was only a 3 hour flight, she was groggy for hours after. For an overseas trip, not only will she probably be groggy longer (due to requiring multiple doses), but it also most likely make dealing with the time difference even more difficult. –  Beofett Jun 22 '11 at 22:57
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See a doctor. She may be taking a larger dose than necessary. –  Joel Spolsky Jun 22 '11 at 23:01
    
@Joel I'll suggest that to her. She gets almost the same reaction from a half an over-the-counter benadryl. I've actually never seen anyone else react to antihistamines so strongly. –  Beofett Jun 23 '11 at 0:53

4 Answers 4

up vote 8 down vote accepted

I had problems with airsickness when travelling early in my pregnancies and found those accupressure bands that push on the inside of your wrist to be very helpful. I know people who also use them for children who get car sick. Once you're familiar with the place to press to reduce the nausea, you can of course just do it yourself, but the nice thing about the bands is they leave your hands free.

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How long do you have to wear it before it becomes effective? –  Raj More Jun 23 '11 at 12:33
    
For me, the minute I press that point the nausea fades away. If you feel crummy while wearing them, move them around a bit until you discover the spot the plastic needs to press on you. –  Kate Gregory Jun 23 '11 at 12:45
    
I had forgotten about these. A relative loaned us a pair and we tried them on a trip while my wife was pregnant. They worked quite well for her. I'll have to find a pair to purchase for her. Great suggestion, thanks! –  Beofett Jun 23 '11 at 16:29
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They are generally regarded as a placebo, see here: skeptics.stackexchange.com/questions/154/… –  jozzas Jun 24 '11 at 5:37
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@jozzas The placebo effect is real, and works (for some people). As I mentioned above: "They worked quite well for [my wife]". While I appreciate the effort of those on Skeptics.SE (and I participate there as well), sometimes the placebo effect can make up for all kinds of faulty or misleading research. For all I know, it could be the placebo effect that makes some people suffer so strongly from motion sickness, in which case a counter-placebo would be the ideal solution. –  Beofett Jun 28 '11 at 19:27

I know that you said you were looking for other ways besides pharmaceuticals, but I have a few recommendations as an ER nurse. Antivert (meclizine) is a drug that we commonly prescribe for motion sickness. That drug helps with the dizziness. Also, we give zofran (Ondansetron) can be taken for the nausea. Zofran is an oral dissolving tablet that, in my opinion, is the best drug for nausea and vomiting. Both of these drugs can be taken together and are non drowsy. I have taken them myself and have been able to drive and function as normal.

Have a fun time in Europe!

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Are there non-prescription options available? –  Raj More Jun 23 '11 at 13:34
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Meclizine is supposed to be available over the counter, but zofran is not available. And meclizine may help with the nausea and vomiting, but if the nausea is severe, again, I recommend getting the zofran. –  AtlasRN Jun 23 '11 at 14:16
    
Thank you for your answer. We will try out the meclizine, and I will suggest to my wife that she discuss the zofran with her doctor (since it seems to require a prescription). Despite your answer being voted higher, I accepted Kate's answer below only because we had tried the accupressure bands that she described in the past and found them to be effective, whereas we will not be able to test your suggestion for quite a few months. I would have accepted both answers if I could have. Thanks again for your excellent advice! –  Beofett Jun 29 '11 at 18:43
    
Not a problem. I just wanted to speak from a medical perspective and give you the advice on what I know that works from personal and professional experience. :) I hope that she is able to find something that works for her so you can enjoy your trips! And it never hurts to have a backup plan! :) –  AtlasRN Jun 30 '11 at 0:04

I take the "natural" version of Gravol which is derived from ginger. Straight ginger should do it as well. It's been pretty effective and is non-drowsy, although I've never taken it on a flight over 5 hours.

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Try melatonin - it's sold in the vitamins/minerals area of pretty much any grocery or drug store.

This doesn't actually help with motion sickness, it just helps you sleep, but for a flight to Europe that is what you want - and most importantly, if she's asleep then she can't be nauseous.

I know you said the dromamine does this, but the problem is she feels groggy afterward. Unlike dromamine, melatonin is a substance that the body produces naturally (at night time) to make you sleepy, so it doesn't have the typical grogginess side effects of actual drugs or sleeping pills. Have her try taking one at home at night and see how she feels the next morning - if she's not groggy, it will be perfect. I always take melatonin on long overseas flights to make sure that I arrive at my destination well-rested and ready to do stuff! :)

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