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Motion Sickness Travel Sickness
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Motion sickness (travel sickness) is common, especially in children. It is caused by repeated unusual movements during travelling, which send strong (sometimes confusing) signals to the balance and position sensors in the brain.
Travel sickness, in this article, what causes motion sickness, how long does motion sickness last, motion sickness symptoms, how to stop motion sickness, natural treatments for motion sickness, motion sickness medicines, what can a doctor prescribe for motion sickness.
- What should I do if I'm actually sick?
What is mal de debarquement syndrome?
Motion sickness is a normal response to repeated movements, such as going over bumps or around in a circle, send lots of messages to your brain. If you are inside a vehicle, particularly if you are focused on things that are inside the vehicle with you then the signals that your eyes send to the brain may tell it that your position is not changing, whilst your balance mechanisms say otherwise.
Your balance mechanisms in your inner ears sense different signals to those that your eyes are seeing which then sends your brain mixed, confusing messages. This confusion between messages then causes people to experience motion sickness.
Is motion sickness normal?
Motion sickness is a normal response that anyone can have when experiencing real or perceived motion. Although all people can develop motion sickness if exposed to sufficiently intense motion, some people are rarely affected while other people are more susceptible and have to deal with motion sickness very often.
Triggers for motion sickness
Motion sickness can also be triggered by anxiety or strong smells, such as food or petrol. Sometimes trying to read a book or a map can trigger motion sickness. Both in children and adults, playing computer games can sometimes cause motion sickness to occur.
Motion sickness is more common in children and also in women. Fortunately, many children grow out of having motion sickness. It is not known why some people develop motion sickness more than others. Symptoms can develop in cars, trains, planes and boats and on amusement park rides, etc.
Symptoms typically go when the journey is over; however, not always. In some people they last a few hours, or even days, after the journey ends.
There are various symptoms of motion sickness including::
- Feeling sick (nausea and vomiting).
- Sweating and cold sweats.
- Increase in saliva.
- Headaches .
- Feeling cold and going pale.
- Feeling weak.
Some general tips to avoid motion sickness include the following.
Prepare for your journey
- Don't eat a heavy meal before travelling. Light, carbohydrate-based food like cereals an hour or two before you travel is best.
- On long journeys, try breaking the journey to have some fresh air, drink some cold water and, if possible, take a short walk.
For more in-depth advice on travelling generally, see the separate leaflets called Health Advice for Travel Abroad , Travelling to Remote Locations , Ears and Flying (Aeroplane Ear) , Jet Lag and Altitude Sickness .
Plan where you sit
- Keep motion to a minimum. For example, sit in the front seat of a car, over the wing of a plane, or on deck in the middle of a boat.
- On a boat, stay on deck and avoid the cafeteria or sitting where your can smell the engines.
Breathe fresh air
- Breathe fresh air if possible. For example, open a car window.
- Avoid strong smells, particularly petrol and diesel fumes. This may mean closing the window and turning on the air conditioning, or avoiding the engine area in a boat.
Use your eyes and ears differently
- Close your eyes (and keep them closed for the whole journey). This reduces 'positional' signals from your eyes to your brain and reduces the confusion.
- Don't try to read.
- Try listening to an audio book with your eyes closed. There is some evidence that distracting your brain with audio signals can reduce your sensitivity to the motion signals.
- Try to sleep - this works mainly because your eyes are closed, but it is possible that your brain is able to ignore some motion signals when you are asleep.
- Do not read or watch a film.
- It is advisable not to watch moving objects such as waves or other cars. Don't look at things your brain expects to stay still, like a book inside the car. Instead, look ahead, a little above the horizon, at a fixed place.
- If you are the driver you are less likely to feel motion sickness. This is probably because you are constantly focused on the road ahead and attuned to the movements that you expect the vehicle to make. If you are not, or can't be, the driver, sitting in the front and watching what the driver is watching can be helpful.
Treat your tummy gently
- Avoid heavy meals and do not drink alcohol before and during travelling. It may also be worth avoiding spicy or fatty food.
- Try to 'tame your tummy' with sips of a cold water or a sweet, fizzy drink. Cola or ginger ale are recommended.
Try alternative treatments
- Sea-Bands® are acupressure bands that you wear on your wrists to put pressure on acupressure points that Chinese medicine suggests affects motion sickness. Some people find that they are effective.
- Homeopathic medicines seem to help some people, and will not make you drowsy. The usual homeopathic remedy is called 'nux vom'. Follow the instructions on the packet.
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All the techniques above which aim to prevent motion sickness will also help reduce it once it has begun. Other techniques, which are useful on their own to treat motion sickness but can also be used with medicines if required, are:
- Breathe deeply and slowly and, while focusing on your breathing, listening to music. This has been proved to be effective in clinical trials.
- Ginger - can improve motion sickness in some people (as a biscuit or sweet, or in a drink).
There are several motion sickness medicines available which can reduce, or prevent, symptoms of motion sickness. You can buy them from pharmacies or, in some cases, get them on prescription. They work by interfering with the nerve signals described above.
Medicines are best taken before the journey. They may still help even if you take them after symptoms have begun, although once you feel sick you won't absorb medicines from the stomach very well. So, at this point, tablets that you put against your gums, or skin patches, are more likely to be effective.
Hyoscine is usually the most effective medicine for motion sickness . It is also known as scopolamine. It works by preventing the confusing nerve messages going to your brain.
There are several brands of medicines which contain hyoscine - they also come in a soluble form for children. You should take a dose 30-60 minutes before a journey; the effect can last up to 72 hours. Hyoscine comes as a patch for people aged 10 years or over. (This is only available on prescription - see below.) Side-effects of hyoscine include dry mouth , drowsiness and blurred vision.
Side-effects of motion sickness medicines
Some medicines used for motion sickness may cause drowsiness. Some people are extremely sensitive to this and may find that they are so drowsy that they can't function properly at all. For others the effects may be milder but can still impair your reactions and alertness. It is therefore advisable not to drive and not to operate heavy machinery if you have taken them. In addition, some medicines may interfere with alcohol or other medication; your doctor or the pharmacist can advise you about this.
Antihistamines can also be useful , although they are not quite as effective as hyoscine. However, they usually cause fewer side-effects. Several types of antihistamine are sold for motion sickness. All can cause drowsiness, although some are more prone to cause it than others; for example, promethazine , which may be of use for young children on long journeys, particularly tends to cause drowsiness. Older children or adults may prefer one that is less likely to cause drowsiness - for example, cinnarizine or cyclizine.
Remember, if you give children medicines which cause drowsiness they can sometimes be irritable when the medicines wear off.
See the separate article called How to manage motion sickness .
There are a number of anti-sickness medicines which can only be prescribed by your doctor. Not all of them always work well for motion sickness, and finding something that works may be a case of trial and error. All of them work best taken up to an hour before your journey, and work less well if used when you already feel sick. See also the separate leaflet called Nausea (Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment) for more detailed information about these medicines .
Hyoscine, or scopolamine, patches are suitable for adults and for children over 10 years old. The medicine is absorbed through your skin, although this method of medicine delivery is slow so the patch works best if applied well before your journey.
You should stick the patch on to the skin behind the ear 5-6 hours before travelling (often this will mean late on the previous night) and remove it at the end of the journey.
Prochlorperazine is a prescription-only medicine which works by changing the actions of the chemicals that control the tendency to be sick (vomit), in your brain. One form of prochlorperazine is Buccastem®, which is absorbed through your gums and does not need to be swallowed. Buccastem® tastes rather bitter but it can be effective for sickness when you are already feeling sick, as it doesn't have to be absorbed by the stomach.
Metoclopramide is a tablet used to speed up the emptying of your tummy. Slow emptying of the tummy is something that happens when you develop nausea and vomiting, so metoclopramide can help prevent this. It prevents nausea and vomiting quite effectively in some people. It can occasionally have unpleasant side-effects, particularly in children (in whom it is not recommended). Metoclopramide is often helpful for those who tend to have gastric reflux, those who have slow tummy emptying because of previous surgery, and those who have type 1 diabetes. Your GP will advise whether metoclopramide is suitable for you.
Domperidone , like metoclopramide, is sometimes used for sickness caused by slow tummy emptying. It is not usually recommended for motion sickness but is occasionally used if other treatments don't help. Domperidone is not a legal medicine in some countries, including the USA.
Ondansetron is a powerful antisickness medicine which is most commonly used for sickness caused by chemotherapy, and occasionally used for morning sickness in pregnancy. It is not usually effective for motion sickness. This, and its relatively high cost means that it is not prescribed for motion sickness alone. However, for those undergoing chemotherapy, and for those who have morning sickness aggravated by travel, ondansetron may be helpful.
What should I do if I'm actually sick?
If you're actually sick you may find that this relieves your symptoms a little, although not always for very long. If you've been sick:
- Try a cool flannel on your forehead, try to get fresh air on your face and do your best to find a way to rinse your mouth to get rid of the taste.
- Don't drink anything for ten to twenty minutes (or it may come straight back), although (very) tiny sips of very cold water, coke or ginger ale may help.
- After this, go back to taking all the prevention measures above.
- Once you reach your destination you may continue to feel unwell. Sleep if you can, sip cold iced water, and - when you feel ready - try some small carbohydrate snacks. Avoid watching TV (more moving objects to watch!) until you feel a little better.
The sensation called 'mal de debarquement' (French for sickness on disembarking) refers to the sensation you sometimes get after travel on a boat, train or plane, when you feel for a while as though the ground is rocking beneath your feet. It is probably caused by the overstimulation of the balance organs during your journey. It usually lasts only an hour or two, but in some people it can last for several days, particularly after a long sea journey. It does not usually require any treatment.
Persistent mal de debarquement syndrome is an uncommon condition in which these symptoms may persist for months or years.
Dr Mary Lowth is an author or the original author of this leaflet.
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Further reading and references
Leung AK, Hon KL ; Motion sickness: an overview. Drugs Context. 2019 Dec 138:2019-9-4. doi: 10.7573/dic.2019-9-4. eCollection 2019.
Spinks A, Wasiak J ; Scopolamine (hyoscine) for preventing and treating motion sickness. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2011 Jun 15(6):CD002851.
Zhang LL, Wang JQ, Qi RR, et al ; Motion Sickness: Current Knowledge and Recent Advance. CNS Neurosci Ther. 2016 Jan22(1):15-24. doi: 10.1111/cns.12468. Epub 2015 Oct 9.
Lackner JR ; Motion sickness: more than nausea and vomiting. Exp Brain Res. 2014 Aug232(8):2493-510. doi: 10.1007/s00221-014-4008-8. Epub 2014 Jun 25.
Van Ombergen A, Van Rompaey V, Maes LK, et al ; Mal de debarquement syndrome: a systematic review. J Neurol. 2016 May263(5):843-854. doi: 10.1007/s00415-015-7962-6. Epub 2015 Nov 11.
- Hyoscine for travel sickness (Joy Rides, Kwells, Scopoderm)
- Scopolamine skin patch for nausea (Transderm Scop)
- Nausea Medicine
- Cyclizine for sickness (nausea)
- Promethazine (Avomine, Phenergan, Sominex)
LGBTQ+ travel: how to stay safe
How to manage motion sickness
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Started in December after a family death, a feeling like i was incredibly dizzy. It was not like the room was spinning but a feeling of being off balance, like walking on a sponge floor. Feeling... gyh41172
Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. Egton Medical Information Systems Limited has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but make no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details see our conditions .
How To Help Toddlers With Car Sickness
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Looking for a cure to toddlers with car sickness ? We feel your pain!
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Motion sickness symptoms vary from person to person, but when your child is unable to communicate their symptoms, dealing with it can become a nightmare. Whether your planned car trip takes twenty minutes or four hours, no parent wants their toddler to start feeling ill on the journey.
A few roadblocks commonly stand between parents and treating their toddlers with carsickness; in this guide, we’ll explore how to recognise the symptoms, treat, and prevent motion sickness.
How long does motion sickness last in toddlers, final thoughts, common causes of motion sickness.
When you’re sitting in a car, your body is stationary. You’re not doing any of the work to move, but your eyes are receiving entirely different signals — according to your eyes and inner ear, you’re moving quickly. Motion sickness occurs because of the confusion that happens in your brain and the mixed signals it is trying to interpret.
The most important body part involved in all of this is the inner ear. When your inner ear is trying to understand how to balance you, the movement you are experiencing without actually moving causes the wires to get crossed in your brain and can lead to that queasy feeling.
What Are The Signs of Toddlers With Car Sickness?
If you’ve taken your young child on a plane ride or a long car journey , they might have experienced motion sickness.
Common symptoms include:
- Upset stomach and queasiness
Your toddler might not be able to explain how they are feeling. They’re likely to show it by crying, becoming restless, and they might turn pale. They could also start to yawn if they’re feeling fatigued.
And, of course, stay alert for any vomiting in the back seat.
How to Prevent Car Sickness in Toddlers
If your toddler suffers from motion sickness during car trips, be prepared by following these top tips.
Be aware of what they eat
If your child ever vomits or has an upset stomach when travelling, take care with what you feed them before and during the journey.
A small, light snack such as plain crackers and a sip of water is perfect. Avoid anything too heavy or greasy.
We’ve all been tempted to stuff our toddlers with sweet treats to keep them amused on a long journey, but all that sugar can easily trigger a vomiting episode if they’re suddenly accosted with motion sicknesses.
Check the temperature & provide air ventilation
One of the easiest ways to relieve the symptoms of motion sickness is to provide fresh air. Open the windows or use the air blowers in the car as soon as your toddler starts to display signs of motion sickness.
Alternatively, use a cool cloth to bring their temperature down if they’re feeling hot. Dress your child for the weather too — layers of light clothing are best for travelling.
Reduce sensory input
Looking at a fixed point outside the vehicle can often help. Encourage your youngster to look out of the window rather than playing with toys or looking at a book.
It’s quite common for children to start to feel sick when they are watching a video or reading during travel, and the symptoms are often eased when they stop.
Related to the above, if possible, it’s a good idea to let travel sick toddlers sit in the middle seat, so they have a clear view out of the window ahead.
If your toddler is sitting in a rear-facing seat, it might be time to consider turning their seat around if they’re badly afflicted with car sickness. Facing against the direction of travel can sometimes make motion sickness symptoms worse.
Remember, toddlers should always travel in the back of the car for safety.
If your child starts feeling sick, distracting them by offering to play games like I-Spy or playing music might be enough to help. It will take their mind off their feelings of queasiness (and make the journey more fun, too!).
Break up a long car trip with frequent breaks to allow your toddler the chance to get some fresh air and stretch their legs. This will help reduce boredom too — a win-win!
Acupressure bands are popular among many parents, although it’s important to note that they have not been proven to work. However, there’s no harm in trying them if you have a youngster who is frequently affected by motion sickness. Sometimes the placebo effect is enough to take the edge off!
Hyoscine is available to toddlers aged 2 years and above, and is thought to be highly effective. Consult with your GP or pharmacist if you are unsure about the suitability of certain medications.
It’s worth trying the above options first, and consider medication as a last resort.
Toddler Car Sickness FAQs
What can you give a 2-year-old for motion sickness.
There are medications suitable for 2-year-olds suffering from travel sickness – hyoscine and dramamine are popular medicated options, whereas acupressure bands and ginger are great non-medicinal alternatives to try.
What can I give my 1-year-old for car sickness?
There aren’t any medications suitable for this age group, but plenty of the suggestions above can help. Try to avoid giving your baby a big feed shortly before car or plane rides. Instead, give them a few sips to prevent dehydration and plan bigger feeds for earlier or later in the day.
Is it normal for toddlers to get car sick?
It’s more common for slightly older children to suffer from travel sickness — it’s especially common in those aged 6-12. However, it can and does affect toddlers and even babies.
Thankfully, motion sickness symptoms ease off quickly once the journey has ended. Expect your child to be back to their usual happy self within a couple of hours.
Motion sickness can be stressful for both parents and toddlers and can spoil a holiday before you even arrive.
Thankfully, it’s quite easy to prevent with or without medication. Something as simple as opening the windows and taking away toys and games can often be enough to ease the symptoms of car sickness and ensure the family has an enjoyable journey!
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Does my baby have travel sickness?
Children younger than two years old are rarely travel sick, but if your baby is often unhappy when travelling, he may have motion sickness.
- Travel sickness usually starts with a tummy ache, so if your baby suddenly seems upset and uncomfortable, this could be the reason.
- Nausea can cause more saliva to be produced, so your baby may start to dribble more than usual.
- Your baby may feel hot but look pale, and then actually be sick .
Strong smells or bendy roads can cause travel sickness symptoms too. Your baby may feel worse if he’s moving his head a lot, or looking at a nearby object such as his car seat or mobile .
- Plan your journey for times your baby may fall asleep. Travel sickness is less likely to happen when he’s sleeping.
- You could put your baby to bed before you depart, and then transfer him into his car seat without (hopefully) waking him up. Once the journey has started and your baby begins to feel ill, he is less likely to go to sleep.
- Try not to give your baby a full feed just before travelling.
- If your little one vomits , give him sips of breastmilk or formula milk, or cooled boiled water. This will prevent him becoming dehydrated . If he vomits a lot, you may want to give him an oral rehydration solution, which you can buy from your pharmacy.
- Keep the car cool and don’t overdress your baby . A little battery fan can be useful to keep him cool, but don’t let him get cold.
- Don’t try to distract your baby with toys or books as these can make travel sickness symptoms worse.
- Put a sun shade on the car window to protect him from the sun and to help him look forward.
- Keep the car well ventilated and free of any strong smells from food or perfume. Your little one may find fresh air from an open window more refreshing than air conditioning.
- Don’t allow anyone to smoke in the car with your baby. It's against the law, even if you have the windows open, and may make him feel even more queasy.
- Make sure that your baby’s head is well-supported in his car seat .
- Playing familiar music or singing nursery rhymes may distract him from feeling ill.
- Put a towel over your baby’s front if you think he may be sick. It’s easier to remove than clothing.
- If you think that your baby is going to be sick on the journey then it’s also a good idea to cover the car seat with a towel before putting your baby into it. This will protect the seat and ensure that your little one won’t have to sit in a soiled seat if you can’t clean it up during the journey.
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What to do if your child suffers from travel sickness
Travel sickness can be a debilitating condition to suffer from and is actually more common in children aged 3 to 12 years old . Trying to help a small child when they are feeling ill in the car can seem overwhelming, especially if you often have to do longer journeys with me. Don’t worry, we have some great tips and insights into things that really work when your toddler has motion sickness.
What is travel sickness?
A lot of you may already know the main symptoms of travel sickness for your child, however, it can never hurt to have another look or it may be that your child has one of the more rare symptoms that you hadn’t realised. Every child is different so they may not experience all the symptoms, and the severity of symptoms may be different each time.
Travel sickness is more accurately called motion sickness as it is a direct result of being in motion- usually occurring when you are travelling in cars, trains, buses, boats etc.
- Vomiting and nausea
- Cold sweats
- Increased saliva
- Drowsiness and extreme tiredness
- Rapid breathing
Why does travel sickness occur?
Motion sickness occurs when there is a disparity between what your eyes can see and what your inner ears (that help with balance) can sense. So if you’re in car then your eyes are saying that you’re moving at a high speed but your inner ear is sensing that you are sat down which results in the confusion. Some people are clearly more susceptible to the effects of this disparity and it results in some of the symptoms above.
How can I stop my child from getting travel sick?
Treating motion sickness as soon as you can (once you’ve ruled out any other causes for vomiting such as a tummy bug) is key as you don’t want your child to always associate being in the car with feeling really ill as they will start to dread going on car journeys making everyone’s life miserable.
One of the simplest and best tips is to make sure they have an uninterrupted view out of the front window. The easiest way to do this is having them either in the passenger seat or the middle of the back seat.
Try to remove anything that may be doing that involves looking at screens for a prolonged period of time, especially anything that involves reading. So no tablet, Kindle or book. A short DVD may still be OK but it’s probably best to try and go completely cold turkey with this as reading can very quickly bring on nausea. Replace this with music or an audio book to listen to- either using headphones or just in the car so that they don’t get bored.
Make sure you have a bit of air circulating around the car as hot, stuffy conditions can make everything feel a lot worse. Crack the window nearest to them a bit and encourage them to take big, deep breaths. Singing can help with the breathing and could distract them as well.
If the travel sickness is happening on a boat or plane advance book a central seat or cabin as this is were the least rocking or turbulence will be felt.
If you are planning a long journey, think about what food you give your child before you leave as a heavy or greasy meal can make the symptoms worse.
Be prepared for travel sickness, a good tip I read was to use plastic sealable bags (like ziploc foodbags) as sickbags so that the smell (along with the vomit….) can be contained for the rest of the journey. Make sure you have a good supply!
Give ginger a go- there is some evidence to suggest that taking ginger can lessen nausea and I have certainly heard anecdotal evidence of this working for other types of nausea such as period pain.
Acupressure bands are also suggested and I can remember friends wearing these when we were on school trips to help stop travel sickness.
Update: Extra tip!
Recommended in the comments is an app called Nevasic which I’d never come across so I’ve taken a look. It is audio that you play when starting to feel the effects of nausea and has been empirically verified for pregnancy sickness as well as motion sickness.
Interestingly, the clinical study carried out by Imperial College School of Medicine which found a significant reduction in nausea when using the app, also investigated controlling breathing. This was also found to be effective in reducing the feelings of sickness. Less useful for younger kids but could be worth trying for older kids.
If none of these remedies seems to be working or symptoms are severe and ongoing even on short car journeys then a trip to your GP or local pharmacist is in order. They can recommend or prescribe medicine designed specifically to target the symptoms of travel sickness.
Kids and travel sickness: final thoughts
I really hope this post has thrown up (oops, pun not intended!) some new tips and ideas to try with your children to stop the travel sickness. If you have any tried and tested tips of your own or just want to share your story then leave a comment below.
19th December 2017 at 9:20 am
Try the nevasic app, drug free, developed for travel sickness and proven safe and to work in a clinical trial run by Westminster College of Medicine London.
19th December 2017 at 1:09 pm
Thanks for the recommendation Dave, will take a look and add it to the tips.
28th January 2018 at 3:32 pm
Some great tips for travelling with travel sickness, thanks for linking up to #fortheloveofBLOG
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Vaccinations, food and water hygiene, accident prevention, medical services.
Travelling with children requires practical consideration and careful planning. It is advisable to consult a travel health practitioner at least 6-8 weeks in advance of departure. The risks to health vary and many factors need to be taken into account such as destination, length of stay, planned activities, age and the general health of your child.
Vaccinations may be advisable for some destinations. The age of your child often determines which vaccines they may be able to receive and should have already received as per the UK Vaccination Schedule . Parents should be aware that some children may be too young to receive the vaccinations recommended for their chosen destination. Your health care practitioner can discuss additional preventative measures to reduce the chance of disease transmission in these circumstances, however you may be advised to change your travel plans.
The timing of vaccinations is important, some vaccines may offer disease protection within two weeks, whereas others may require over a month. Some vaccine schedules require two or more doses given over weeks or months before adequate protection is obtained.
Some vaccines are available free on the NHS, however, there may be a charge for some recommended vaccines. This should be taken into consideration when planning and budgeting for travel.
Children are at particular risk of severe and fatal malaria; parents are therefore advised to avoid taking infants and children to malarious areas. If travel is unavoidable it is imperative that infants and children are well protected against mosquito bites and receive appropriate chemoprophylaxis (antimalarials) .
A) Awareness of Risk
Malaria is now predominantly a disease affecting Africa, South America, Southeast Asia, the Indian sub-continent and less so in Central America and the Middle East:
- individual country pages should be checked to determine the risk at the destination
- for further information see the malaria advice pages.
B) Mosquito Bite Prevention
- Parents and children must be aware of the risk and take precautions to avoid mosquito bites , including the use of repellents, nets and suitable clothing.
C) Chemoprophylaxis (antimalarials)
It is important to discuss antimalarial suitability with a qualified doctor, nurse or pharmacist:
- the choice of antimalarial is determined by the destination, age and weight of the child
- parents must supervise their child's antimalarial consumption and be careful not to exceed the recommended dose, overdosing antimalarials can be particularly toxic for children
- it is preferable to avoid crushing or breaking tablets, however, it may be necessary to crush some tablets in order to administer the correct dose. Qualified pharmacists should be able to offer further advice; tablet cutters can be purchased to help facilitate correct dosage
- infants and young children may resist taking medications, mixing tablets with jam, honey, chocolate spread or similar foods may make administration easier
- no antimalarial is 100% effective and should always be used in combination with mosquito bite avoidance
D) Diagnosis and Treatment
- Prompt diagnosis and treatment of malaria is essential and the importance of this should be stressed to all parents visiting malarious regions. Fever, occurring at least 7 days after exposure, is the most common symptom of malaria, but infection can develop even up to one year later.
- Symptoms in young children may be difficult to determine. Parents must be aware that any child returning from a malarious zone who seems ‘off colour’ or just ‘not their normal self’ should be screened for malaria promptly.
Rabies is spread through the saliva of an infected animal (particularly dogs, cats, monkeys and bats) via a bite, scratch or lick of mucous membranes or broken skin. There is no specific treatment available for rabies once symptoms develop and those that develop symptoms will die.
Children can be more likely than adults to be exposed to rabies. Natural curiosity and exploration may entice them to approach animals; fear of being chastised may make them conceal an exposure.
- It is important that children are aware of the need to avoid animal contact during travel and equally the importance of reporting any exposure that does occur.
Pre-travel rabies vaccination should be considered for children travelling to countries that are considered high risk for rabies. Please see the Rabies advice page for further information.
Children, especially young children may be more likely to be exposed to food and water borne illness during travel due to their natural exploratory nature and hand to mouth habits.
Risk can be reduced by frequent hand washing (or use of alcohol based hand cleansing gel when hand washing is not an option). Children should eat freshly cooked, hot food when possible and avoid raw food that cannot be peeled or cooked and unpasteurised dairy products.
Water for drinking, making up formula milk, diluting drinks and cleaning teeth should be bottled or boiled; see the Breastfeeding and Bottle-feeding advice page for further information.
Children and infants should be discouraged from drinking shower, bath or swimming pool water. Parents of toddlers may decide to take pre-packaged food with them.
Children suffering diarrhoeal illnesses can become dehydrated quickly, rehydration is a priority:
- clear fluids such as diluted fruit juices or oral rehydration solutions should be drunk liberally
- all rehydrating drinks must be prepared with safe water
- children with severe or blood/mucous stained diarrhoea, high fever or severe abdominal pain should receive medical attention immediately
Babies and children are particularly vulnerable to sunburn and over exposure to the sun can increase their risk of skin cancer later in life. Sunburn may also cause considerable pain and discomfort in the short term.
The safest way to protect children from sunburn is to use a combination of shade, clothing and sunscreen.
- use a sunscreen of at least SPF 15 which also has high UVA protection
- ensure sunscreens are applied generously to ALL sun exposed areas. Sunscreen should be applied 20 - 30 minutes before sun exposure
- remember that showering, swimming and sweating may remove sunscreen; ensure frequent application and consider water resistant sunscreens
- cover children up using clothing such as wide brimmed hat and long sleeved tops, closed weaved fabrics may offer better sun protection
- protect eyes from sun exposure, use sunglasses with a CE mark, UV400 label or that offer 100% UV protection
- seek shelter; avoid sun exposure between 11am and 3pm when sun is typically stronger
See the Sun Exposure advice page for further information.
Local health and safety regulations vary between countries and may not be at the same standard as parents are used to in the UK. Parents must be aware of this and make a judgement about the safety of their child using facilities abroad.
Equipment for young children such as high chairs, microwaves for heating food and changing stations may not be available at many destinations. Parents should be advised to thoroughly research the facilities available prior to travel.
Road rules vary country to country and age appropriate child seats may not be available at the destination. Parents should check this prior to travel and consider taking their own child car seats if necessary.
- See the Accident Prevention advice page for further information.
Many countries do not provide the same access to medical facilities and treatments as the UK. Some countries may have reciprocal health care agreements with UK, see individual country pages for details.
All child travellers should be included in travel insurance policies, medical emergencies including repatriation should be included in the policy.
- See the travel insurance advice page for further details.
Parents should be aware of what to do if their child becomes ill whilst abroad including how to access emergency medical treatment. Parents should try and identify health care facilities prior to departure.
The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) provides details of the nearest British Embassy or Consulate that may be able to help locate health care facilities at the destination. Neither the FCDO or Embassy will pay for medical care even in an emergency.
- The International Society of Travel Medicine has a Global Travel Clinic Locator available on their website.
- Addresses for local medical services might also be available from larger hotels and from tour company representatives.
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What can be done about a two-year-old's car sickness?
My partner's daughter is two years old and suffers from car sickness almost every time she travels unless she sleeps through the entire journey.
It can be brought on even by a short trip to the shops.
The sickness is apparently unexpected; she gives no indication of it coming.
We've tried wristbands and not feeding/watering her prior to travel. Neither appears to work.
Is there anything that can be done? I don't know if it is relevant but she is vegetarian and her father suffered from car sickness as a child too.
She certainly seems to be particularly prone to motion sickness.
Try to minimise any psychological contribution by avoiding all mention of travels and distracting her wherever possible.
Encourage her to sit in the front seat (provided of course there is no airbag fitted in the front passenger seat position) in her car seat where she can concentrate on the road ahead and anticipate corners and bends, as this helps to stabilise the balance system.
Whilst she should not eat or drink immediately before traveling, it does help to settle the stomach if she eats a couple of hours before.
Never allow anyone to smoke in the car.
As she gets older don't let her read or play games, which require focusing on anything inside the car.
For long journeys, an antihistamine preparation such as Phenergan or Piriton can be helpful, although it does have a sedating effect and will encourage her to sleep.
Most other types of travel sickness preparation are not licensed for children.
Complementary therapies can be very useful, however. Ginger, either in the form of a drink or nibbling on a natural root, is a good antisickness food, and it can also be used along with essential oil of peppermint as an aromatherapy massage for her chest before traveling.
Alternatively, these oils can be put on a handkerchief and sniffed when she feels nauseated.
The best news is that she will almost certainly grow out of it in the future (the sooner the better as far as you and your partner are concerned).
In the meantime, have those sick-bags handy, albeit tucked out of sight so as not to suggest their need until the last possible moment.
The NetDoctor Medical Team
Other Qs & As
Babies at altitude
Babies on long-haul flights
Can a child cope with a long haul flight?
Can a flight cause cot death?
Can babies fly?
Flying risks for baby?
Jet set baby
My kid has severe motion sickness
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Taking children on a holiday
Taking our daughter abroad for the first time
Travel vaccinations and allergies
Travel vaccinations for children
Last updated 19.05.2014
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This guidance leaflet explains why we stop and ask questions at the border and our duty under the Borders Citizenship and Immigration Act 2009 to safeguard travel and promote the welfare of children. It also describes how people can plan ahead when travelling with children and documentation we may ask for, such as adoption papers or proof of travel consent.
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How and when to take hyoscine hydrobromide - Brand names: Kwells, Joy-Rides, Kwells Kids, Travel Calm, Scopoderm
Always read the information that comes with your medicine.
The instructions may vary, depending on why you're taking hyoscine hydrobromide and whether you're taking tablets or using patches.
Dosage and strength
Pharmacies sell 2 different strengths of hyoscine hydrobromide tablets:
- 150 micrograms (including Kwells Kids and Joy-Rides)
- 300 micrograms (including Kwells and Boots Travel Calm)
Take (or give your child) a dose at least 20 to 30 minutes before starting your journey, or as soon as you start to feel sick when travelling.
Different brands of tablets may have different recommended doses. Check the instructions on the packet for the dose you need to give yourself or your child.
For long journeys, you can repeat the dose every 6 hours.
How to take or use it
Suck or chew the tablets, or swallow them whole with a drink of water.
You can take the tablets with or without food.
Patches for travel sickness
The patches work like a plaster and you stick them on your skin.
- Stick a patch to the skin behind the ear, 5 to 6 hours before the start of your journey (or the evening before you travel).
- Remove the patch at the end of your journey.
For long journeys, you can keep the patch on for up to 72 hours (3 days).
If you're still travelling after 72 hours, remove the first patch and stick a new patch behind the other ear. You can keep this on for another 72 hours if needed.
Do not apply more than 1 patch at a time.
How long to take it for
For travel sickness, you only need to take the tablets or use the patches before and during your journey.
If you take too much
Taking 1 extra dose of hyoscine hydrobromide is unlikely to harm you or your child.
But you may get more side effects, such as a dry mouth or blurred vision.
Taking more than 1 extra dose of hyoscine hydrobromide can be dangerous. In serious cases, you may have a fast heartbeat, you can become unconscious or have a seizure or fit, and you'll need emergency treatment in hospital.
The amount of hyoscine hydrobromide that can lead to an overdose varies from person to person.
Urgent advice: Contact 111 for advice now if:
- you or your child take 2 or more extra doses of hyoscine hydrobromide
Go to 111.nhs.uk or call 111
If you need advice for a child under the age of 5 years, call 111 .
If you need to go to A&E , do not drive yourself. Get someone else to drive you or call for an ambulance.
Take the hyoscine hydrobromide packet or leaflet inside it, plus any remaining medicine, with you.
Page last reviewed: 5 October 2022 Next review due: 5 October 2025
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Travel sick 2 year old.
apric0t · 15/08/2020 14:09
2 yr old has vomited the last few car journeys. been prescribed citirizine by my gp but I can't find anywhere online that says it's helpful with motion sickness, in fact I can only find mentions that it's totally ineffective against nausea and vomiting. (I'm aware I'm not a doctor but I'm very anxious about her vomiting again while I'm on the motorway and need to concentrate) What helps with your child's motion sickness? we have a long drive next week and I will time it so it's while she is napping but if she wakes up she usually vomits after about 20 minutes. I have a phobia of vomit and find it impossible very hard to deal with and I will be driving alone with her in the car ( we are moving house). Has citirizine worked for your DCs motion sickness, anything else I can try?
Have you tried seabands? They work for the most part on my daughter (she'll be three in a month ) There is also a medicine you can get over the counter. All off the shelf are age 3/4 plus. This one is suitable but it's a knock out type juice (and used to be misused in that way apparently hence why a pharmacist has to approve it). You cannot take it on the fly though, I think it's the day before
Was going to recommend Kwells Kids tablets but can't be used for a 2 year old so a quick google search came up with this which you should read. Have used travel bands which help but wouldn't solely rely on them at that age.
Presuming she's rear facing at that age but most things apply for forward facing also. Can you block out side windows so she can just look out of rear. She might be better just looking at a fixed point in the distance. You could remove rear headrest to give a really clear view out of the back. Don't use any books/tablet/dvd in the car. Make sure she's not too hot and avoid food straight before a journey. We use audio books in the car so that might distract her?
@apric0t also my daughter seems better on smooth motorways rather than bendy A roads so we try and adjust the journey where possible. We also found she got hot so she has less on in her seat than maybe others do.
Is she watching any tablet or anything in the car? We found getting rid of books/tablets and opening the windows a bit, along with lots of encouragement to look out the window, all helped.
We couldn't find any failsafe solution, but a combination of bands, plenty of fresh air in the car and travelling later in the day when possible helped a bit. Agree on smoother routes over bending roads.
We have dealt a lot with horrible travel sickness in this house. I second the use of travel bands, they can either work well or not at all but when they work they do an excellent job (just make sure they fit well). Also avoiding any rich foods or drinks (i.e. milk) before a journey. We used Stugeron 15 tablets but I think they may be unsuitable at that age. Probably also not suitable for her at the moment but as she gets older try a pair of headphones with some music, we were told these block out the signals associated with travel sickness and surprisingly it actually works really well. As does wearing sunglasses whilst on journeys (same reason). Again last two probably not suitable until she’s a little older but to keep in mind.
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Kwells Travel Health Care
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Kwells medicines are indicated to prevent travel sickness. Kwells can be used by both kids (above 4 years) and adults.
Kwells is used to prevent all types of Travel Sickness (car, coach, plane, train and ship) and is suitable for use in adults and children over the age of 4 years, (dose adjustments are needed for children between 4-12 yrs of age).
Kwells travel sickness prevention contains the active ingredient Hyoscine Hydrobromide (0.3mg) and does not contain caffeine (a stimulant) or Dimenhydrinate (may cause drowsiness), which are found in other travel sickness treatments.
Kwells is the No.1 selling treatment for travel sickness prevention.
Kwells should be taken at least 30 minutes before commencing your journey as travel sickness is more easily prevented than treated - once vomiting occurs it is almost impossible for oral medication to be absorbed into the body.
FAQ’s Q: Are there preservatives in Kwells? A: There are no preservatives present in Kwells. Q: What active ingredients are in Kwells? A: The active ingredient is Hyoscine hydrobromide. Kwells does not contain caffeine or dimenhydrinate. Q: I get nervous prior to flying and feel airsick when the plane is flying. What can I do? A: The best solution is to take travel sickness prevention 30 minutes prior to flying and when checking ask to be seated over a wing. When on the plane also open the air vent to allow fresh air to flow over your face.
Q: When traveling by car the kids frequently become air sick. What can I do? A: The best solution is to treat them with travel sickness prevention 30 mins prior to the journey. Kwells can be used for children 4 years and up (refer to pack for dosage instructions). In addition ensure they have eaten 2-3 hours before travelling and drink water during the journey. When driving they should be safely elevated to allow them to see where they are going.
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- Children's health
What causes car sickness in children and how can I prevent it?
Car sickness is a type of motion sickness. Motion sickness occurs when the brain receives conflicting information from the inner ears, eyes, and nerves in the joints and muscles.
Imagine a young child sitting low in the back seat of a car without being able to see out the window — or an older child reading a book in the car. The child's inner ear will sense motion, but his or her eyes and body won't. The result might be an upset stomach, cold sweat, fatigue, loss of appetite or vomiting.
It's not clear why car sickness affects some children more than others. While the problem doesn't seem to affect most infants and toddlers, children ages 2 to 12 are particularly susceptible.
To prevent car sickness in children, you might try the following strategies:
- Reduce sensory input. Encourage your child to look at things outside the car rather than focusing on books, games or screens. If your child naps, traveling during nap time might help.
- Carefully plan pre-trip meals. Don't give your child a large meal immediately before or during car travel. If the trip will be long or your child needs to eat, give him or her a small, bland snack — such as dry crackers and a small drink — before it's time to go.
- Provide air ventilation. Adequate air ventilation might help prevent car sickness.
- Offer distractions. If your child is prone to car sickness, try distracting him or her during car trips by talking, listening to music or singing songs.
- Use medication. If you're planning a car trip, ask your child's doctor about using an over-the-counter antihistamine, such as dimenhydrinate (Dramamine) or diphenhydramine (Benadryl), to prevent car sickness. Both medications work best if taken about an hour before traveling. Read the product label carefully to determine the correct dose and be prepared for possible side effects, such as drowsiness. Nondrowsy antihistamines don't appear to be effective at treating motion sickness.
If your child starts to develop car sickness, stop the car as soon as possible and let your child get out and walk around or lie on his or her back for a few minutes with closed eyes. Placing a cool cloth on your child's forehead also might help.
If these tips don't help or if your child's car sickness makes travel difficult, talk to your child's doctor about other options.
Jay L. Hoecker, M.D.
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- Concussion in children
- Brunette GW, et al., eds. Motion sickness. In: CDC Yellow Book 2020: Health Information for International Travel. Oxford University Press; 2019. https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/yellowbook/2020/travel-by-air-land-sea/motion-sickness. Accessed Feb. 24, 2020.
- Motion sickness. Merck Manual Professional Version. https://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/injuries-poisoning/motion-sickness/motion-sickness#. Accessed Feb. 24, 2020.
- Priesol AJ. Motion sickness. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/search. Accessed Feb. 24, 2020.
- Altmann T, et al., eds. Head, neck, and nervous system. In: Caring for Your Baby and Young Child: Birth to Age 5. 7th ed. Bantam; 2019.
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Dramamine® For Kids
Dramamine® for Kids is the only medicated motion sickness relief product formulated just for children ages 2-12 from the #1 Pharmacist Recommended Brand.
● Treats symptoms on the spot ● Prevents nausea, dizziness, vomiting & queasiness ● Safe, precise dose in a fun, chewable grape flavor ● Convenient travel case
Available in an 8-count box.
To prevent motion sickness, the first dose should be taken 1/2 to 1 hour before starting activity.
To prevent or treat motion sickness, see below:
- Children 2 to under 6 years: give ½ to 1 chewable tablet every 6-8 hours; do not give more than 3 chewable tablets in 24 hours, or as directed by a doctor
- Children 6 to under 12 years: give 1 to 2 chewable tablets every 6-8 hours; do not give more than 6 chewable tablets in 24 hours, or as directed by a doctor
- Phenylketonurics: contains phenylalanine 0.375 mg per tablet
- Store at room temperature 20°-25°C (68°-77°F)
Active Ingredient (in each tablet)
Ingredient: Dimenhydrinate 25mg Purpose: Antiemetic
Inactive Ingredients Aspartame, citric acid, flavor, magnesium stearate, methacrylic acide copolymer, sorbitol
Do not use for children under 2 years of age unless directed by a doctor
Ask a doctor before use if the child has:
- A breathing problem such as emphysema or chronic bronchitis
Ask a doctor or a pharmacist before use if the child is taking sedatives or tranquilizers.
When using this product:
- Marked drowsiness may occur
- Avoid alcoholic drinks
- Alcohol, sedatives, and tranquilizers may increase drowsiness
- Be careful when driving a motor vehicle or operating machinery
If pregnant or breast-feeding, ask a doctor before use.
Keep out of reach of children. In case of accidental overdose, get medical help or contact a Poison Control Center (1-800-222-1222) right away.
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Two people die in crashes during Storm Isha
A pensioner and a man in his 60s have died and thousands of homes remain without power after Storm Isha batters the UK - bringing down trees, damaging buildings, causing flooding, and forcing some schools to shut.
Monday 22 January 2024 17:45, UK
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Two people have died following car collisions with fallen trees as a result of Storm Isha, which has brought winds topping 100mph to the UK.
An 84-year-old man in Scotland died after a car collided with a fallen tree, while another man in his 60s died in a road collision involving two vans and a collapsed tree in Limavady, Co Londonderry, Northern Ireland on Sunday.
Police in Scotland say the man - a front-seat passenger - was pronounced dead at the scene in Grangemouth on Sunday night, while others in the car were unhurt.
Read more: Storm Isha - latest updates Another named storm on the way
It comes as weather forecasters in Ireland have named a new storm for Tuesday as Jocelyn, which is expected to have a greater effect on the country than the UK.
Met Eireann said conditions will be "wet and stormy" as Jocelyn "tracks to the northwest of Ireland".
With Isha's effect felt across the UK, commuters faced travel disruption on Monday, while tens of thousands have been left without power.
Rush-hour trains were axed for many as more cancellations and delays are expected for rail, air and sea travellers.
• Wind-speed of 107mph clocked in Scotland; • Network Rail has imposed 50mph speed restrictions across most routes; • Scot Rail cancelled all rush-hour trains and services may not resume until "later on Monday"; • Sellafield nuclear site closed on Sunday as a precaution.
A Met Office yellow warning for wind covering Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales and northern and central England is active from 4pm on Tuesday until 3pm on Wednesday.
An amber warning has been issued for strong winds across the north and west of Scotland from 6pm on Tuesday until 8am on Wednesday - and a yellow warning for heavy rain across western parts of the country from 7am to 6pm on Tuesday.
At least 30,000 people have no power across the north of England and Scotland, with another 40,000 affected in Northern Ireland, according to Lawrence Slade, the chief executive of the Energy Networks Association.
A yellow warning for wind was in place for the entire UK until midday, after the Met Office had issued two amber wind alerts and a red warning for parts of northern Scotland, which have since expired.
At its height, the storm brought winds gusting up to 107mph on the Tay bridge in Scotland.
The storm caused damage to homes and buildings, power cuts, flying debris, large waves and even some flooding in places, and downed trees.
Power down for thousands
In northwest England, winds of up to 80mph caused widespread damage and 8,500 properties remain without power, according to Electricity North West.
Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) said weather conditions were "more severe than initially forecast", with "full network restoration not expected today" and 10,500 properties having no power supply as of 8.45am.
Get the five-day forecast where you are
Agencies across Cumbria declared themselves on standby for a major incident, with Sellafield nuclear site closing as a precaution on Sunday.
Someone was treated at the scene after being struck by falling debris when scaffolding became dislodged in Belfast.
The Met Office said "everybody" has been affected by the storm, while heavy downpours battered some places with 28 flood warnings in place in England and 50 in Scotland.
Network Rail has imposed 50mph speed restrictions across most routes to keep passengers and trains safe from falling trees and debris blown onto tracks.
Scotland's railway operator cancelled all of its rush-hour trains and passengers were warned services may not resume until the afternoon.
The remains of a garden shed were blown on to the line at Bellgrove station in Glasgow and a small fire broke out after a tree fell on overhead wires in Gartcosh, Cumbernauld, Network Rail said.
A wall and fence were blown on to the line at Glasgow Queen Street, while the River Tay breached safety limits at the Dalguise Viaduct on the Highland Mainline, forcing the overnight watchman to abandon the site.
UK weather: The latest Sky News forecast
Further south, there were no LNER trains north of Newcastle until midday and East Midlands Railway said delays and alterations to its services were "likely".
Meanwhile, air traffic control restrictions were in place, leading to flight cancellations and causing some planes to divert.
Ryanair flights to Dublin from Manchester and Lanzarote in the Canary Islands diverted to Paris and Bordeaux, respectively.
A TUI flight from Sharm el Sheikh to Glasgow Airport declared an emergency and was diverted to Manchester.
The Tornado and Storm Research Organisation (Torro) had warned a tornado was "possible" in England and Wales.
A "tornado watch" zone was in place for Northern Ireland, as well as parts of Scotland and northern England, but expired late on Sunday.
Cold Arctic air pushing south into North America is making the jet stream more active, the Met Office said, and because it flows from west to east, it is bringing stormier weather to the UK.
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Storm Isha is the ninth named storm to hit the UK since the season began in September.
Each storm is named when it poses a risk to people and they are given names beginning with consecutive letters of the alphabet.
The record number of named storms in one year is when the Met Office began the practice in 2015/16, with Storm Katie being the 11th and final storm of the season.