Motion sickness is a common cause of nausea and vomiting that can occur during travel by land, air, or boat. In general motion sickness does not cause abdominal pain or diarrhea, so consider other illnesses if those symptoms are present.
Most mild to moderate motion sickness can be managed with over-the-counter or prescription medications, but more severe symptoms or inability to keep down any fluids requires medical attention.
Scopolamine patches can be applied prior to travel to prevent motion sickness. These are typically used for travel by boat.
Meclizine (generic for Dramamine® Non-Drowsy) and dimenhyDRINATE (generic for Dramamine®) (Dramamine) are two over-the-counter medications that can be effective for preventing and treating mild to moderate motion sickness.
Ondansetron (generic for Zofran®) is a prescription medication that can also help with nausea and vomiting.
Eating small, simple meals like crackers, sipping ginger-ale or ginger tea, sitting towards the front of the vehicle where you can see the horizon, and avoiding reading and looking at phone screens, can all help prevent motion sickness.
If you have severe vomiting and cannot tolerate any liquids, or if you are experiencing abdominal pain as well as nausea, seek medical care right away.
To prevent motion sickness
scopolamine patch applied at least 4 hours prior to travel. Replace every 72 hours as needed (not for use in children)
dimenhyDRINATE (generic for Dramamine®) 50 mg every 4-6 hours as needed. Best taken at least one hour before travel (for adults and children over 12)
meclizine (generic for Dramamine® Non-Drowsy) 25-50 mg every 4-6 hours as needed. Best taken at least one hour before travel (for adults and children over 12)
ondansetron (generic for Zofran®) 4 mg every 6 hours as needed (can be used in children and adults, consult dosing guide for children under 4 years old)
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