So what is a motion sickness patch?
The motion sickness patch is created by various different manufacturers, the most well known being – Scopoderm. They contain hyoscine hydrobromide which helps prevent the mixed messages between the senses that cause travel sickness.
What causes motion sickness?
The Vestibular System – This is the system that controls the balance within most mammals. It is a complex connection of nerves, fluids and systems deep within the labyrinth of the ear that controls how our mind feels balance.
For example when we get out of bed the fluid within this system moves and tells our brain that we are now standing and it helps us to balance and be able to walk around whilst sensing everything around us and its proximity to us. Without this system we do not have spatial orientation and therefore would struggle to move around at all.
Motion sickness (travel sickness or sea sickness) is when all of this sensory information has become conflicted. This is why so many people describe feeling detached from the world because the eyes, ears, brain and body all seem to be working against each other rather than with each other.
In this article by Susan Slade she describes how motion sickness completely destroyed her cruise to the point she felt she needed another holiday by the end of the trip.
A lot of people describe their balance as the sixth sense, and many don’t realise exactly how debilitating it can be when it isn’t working properly.
What are the symptoms of motion sickness?
- You may feel cold or clammy
- You may feel dizzy like you are spinning around or like your brain is spinning inside your head
- You may feel nausea or you may actually vomit
- You may have a feeling like your mouth has become more wet and you are salivating more
- You eyes may jerk or twitch
- You may feel drowsy or even tired
- You may feel faint or lightheaded
People can experience these symptoms differently and sometimes the symptoms can be a sign of something more serious. If you are having emergency symptoms as well as any of the above such as tight chest pains, swelling, rashes or seizures you should seek immediate medical attention.
You should also seek medical advise if these symptoms did not start while you were traveling or they started while you were travelling and have continued after your journey.
How does the motion sickness patch work?
The patch works by disrupting the messages between the vestibular system and a part of your brain that controls vomiting. The drug is applied around 8 hours before travel to allow it to get into the bloodstream and work. It is not very effective if taken after the sickness has started and is most effective as a preventative medicine.
You should follow the manufacturers instructions for application, here are a few guidelines on how to use them.
- Clean and dry behind the ear. Then place the patch on an area with no hair on it roughly 6 – 8 hours before travel.
- Do not put the patch on any skin that is broken or sore.
- As you can only use one patch at a time you should manage the time you use the patch wisely. Most effective for up to 72 hours you should remove when you no longer need it and if you need it for longer than 72 hours remove it after the maximum time and put another patch behind the opposite ear.
- Keep it as dry as possible.
- Wash your hands after application as well as washing when it is removed and washing the area it has been.
Does it have any side effects?
The medicine can have side effects such as dizziness or blurred vision. You may also experience drowsiness. Consult the booklet enclosed with the drug for a full list of side effects and always consult a professional if you are unsure.
You should also let your doctor know about any other medication you are taking as well as anything else you use such as drugs or alcohol that also make you drowsy.
If riding in a car, the bumpiness of air turbulence or the rocking of the sea make you nauseous, you may have a more pleasant traveling experience by taking a motion sickness medication.
Motion sickness drugs come in various forms, and one of the more popular is a patch that adheres to the skin and passes the chemical through the skin to relieve motion sickness symptoms. Motion sickness patches utilize a drug called scopolamine and can have some side affects you should be aware of.
Common Side Effects
It is important to learn how the motion sickness patch will affect you before you have to drive or operate other machinery. For some, the common side effects may be minimal, but for others they can include drowsiness and the inability to think clearly.
The medication may also affect your vision. Combining the motion sickness patch with alcohol, antihistamines or other depressants may increase these common side effects.
Some people begin to exhibit unusual behavior after applying the motion sickness patch. According to the Mayo Clinic website, the drug can cause users to develop strange thoughts and behavior similar to those who become intoxicated on alcohol.
Other unusual behavior that could result from use includes confusion, delusions and hallucinations. Nervousness and irritability may also result from using the patch.
If you are having an MRI — magnetic resonance imaging — you should tell your doctor if you are using the motion sickness patch.You may need to remove the patch before the test to prevent skin burns at the location of the patch.
Tooth decay and gingivitis, among other dental disease, is encouraged by extended periods of dry mouth. The motion sickness patch may cause dry mouth in some people, which could result in these problems. You can chew gum to help relieve this problem.
Serious Side Effects
While none of the common side effects of the motion sickness patch are too serious if you are careful, the medication does have some potential side effects that are more extreme. If you experience eye pain, a rapid pulse and extreme dizziness, you should contact your doctor immediately and remove the patch.
This can be a sign of an unusual reaction to the drug, and you may not be able to use it for your motion sickness problem. Other versions of oral motion sickness drugs may work better, but ask your doctor for more details.
Useful Links –
You can find further information on these patches here including how the patches work and possible side effects.
This link is by Dr Paul Auerbach who is an outdoor health expert. In his article he describes how these patches can help you as well as detailing other tips on avoiding motion sickness in various different scenarios, including using of motion sickness patch.