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As soon as it is warmer outside, it pushes us into the distance. You get sick when driving or on a plane and seasickness is feared by ship travelers. The causes of the disease are still unclear. Natural remedies can help many sufferers.
Motion sickness - motion sickness
Nausea and vomiting during car trips, train journeys and air travel, as well as seasickness have the same origin. In the United States, the phenomenon is called "motion sickness" by researchers. Doctors in this country call the various forms kinetoses and in general German language use, suffering is known as motion sickness.
The brain is confused
According to the physician Prof. Frank Schmäl from Greven near Münster, the discomfort is caused, among other things, by a confusion in the brain, because it receives different information about the movement from the sensory organs. He explains the "three systems that inform us about the movement of our own body in space": "The eyes, the balance organ in the inner ear and the so-called proprioceptive system, among other things pressure receptors on the sole of the foot or sensors in the skin, for example the You can feel the draft of a movement. ”As long as the three systems send the same information to the brain, everything is fine, but it switches to alert when it receives conflicting signals. According to Schmäl, driving in a traffic jam is particularly bad: “When you read in the passenger seat, the eye does not notice the constant start-up and braking. It reports a standstill while the other systems tell the brain: We are on the move. ”
Babies and seniors very rarely travel sick
Prof. Schmäl, who heads the dizziness clinic at the ENT center in Münsterland, has been researching motion sickness for years. In April he summarized his research status in the journal "Pharmacology". Accordingly, women are at higher risk than men and children between the ages of two and twelve suffer particularly often from nausea when traveling. In contrast, over 50-year-olds and babies very rarely get travel sick. The reason that babies are less affected is that their sense of balance is not yet fully developed and the brain does not perceive the different sensations as a threat. In the elderly, the susceptibility decreases due to the aging process, which, among other things, changes in the inner ear mean that perception is no longer so fine. According to Schmäl, it has so far been a mystery why women are more vulnerable.
Man is not built for car trips
According to statistics, about five to ten percent of the population is at increased risk of motion sickness and five to fifteen percent are insensitive. According to Schmäl, nine out of ten people in the industrialized countries become motion sick at least once in their life. When explaining why the body reacts with nausea and vomiting, doctors currently assume a poisoning theory: "The body acts as if it had been poisoned and defends itself against it," says Schmäl. He continues: “When poisoned, the body wants to get toxic substances out of the stomach - hence nausea and vomiting. With a faster heartbeat and sweats, the organism also tries to cleanse the blood of toxins. ”The evolutionary sense is unclear, but according to Schmäl, kinetosis can be interpreted as a warning signal for the body to withdraw from a threatening situation. The human body is not built for travel by car, ship or plane.
Avoid alcohol, cigarettes and coffee
Many people react when they drive a car with nausea, cold sweat, dizziness and even vomiting. In acute situations, it helps to interrupt the trip, get out, move and breathe in fresh air. In addition, a wide variety of aids are offered on the market, for which there is hardly any medical evidence. Schmäl advises avoiding alcohol, cigarettes and coffee before traveling: “There are nicotine and caffeine receptors in the balance system. Alcohol has an inhibiting effect on our balance system. If someone who is prone to motion sickness drinks too much red wine during their flight, for example, the whole thing will only get worse. ”And if the waiver is not enough, he recommends scopolamine preparations:“ There are plasters that gradually remove the substance after give up. You stick it behind your ear. Not because the equilibrium organ is there, but because the skin can absorb the active ingredient there particularly well. ”
Test with vitamin C.
The Bundeswehr is also looking for funds to combat seasickness. Andreas Koch, for example, experimented with vitamin C at the Naval Medical Institute of the Navy together with the Viennese allergist Prof. Reinhart Jarisch. "Allergology works a lot with vitamin C," explained Koch. “When the body is allergic to something, a lot of histamine is released. The histamine level can be reduced with vitamin C supplements. ”Tests were carried out in a wave pool. "We put 63 subjects on a life raft over two days and rocked for 20 minutes each," says Koch. Some of them previously received vitamin C and the others a placebo. “With the placebo, 17 participants had to get out of the island very early, with vitamin C only six. And the subjects who broke off both runs had endured longer with vitamin C. ”More detailed results are to be published soon.
Prevent, of course
If a trip is on vacation, those affected can prepare themselves sensibly. So you should eat easily digestible meals on the eve of your departure and avoid high-fat food while driving. Instead of reading a book, you should concentrate on the passing landscape. To distract yourself, audio books have also proven to be effective. It should also be ensured that fresh air can always enter the car through a window gap. Talking in the car about an approaching nausea should also be avoided, because otherwise symptoms could be intensified subjectively. People who are very susceptible to motion sickness should be seated in the direction of travel in the train, bus and car. Rubbing the wrists with rosemary or basil oil is also considered helpful by naturopathy. Lemon balm drops, which can be consumed before the start of the journey, have also proven useful for some people.
Ginger is controversial
In natural medicine, ginger appears again and again as an effective remedy for kinetosis. According to Schmäl, ginger has been shown to help with nausea after surgery or during pregnancy, but so far there is no clear proof of its effectiveness in motion sickness. Dr. Claus-Martin Muth from the Ulm University Clinic is skeptical: “The data situation is inconsistent. There are many scientific reports that say ginger is good for seasickness. But there are just as many who find no effect. ”Non-medical practitioner Susanne Mertens says,“ My experience speaks a clear language. Most patients have confirmed a positive effect on me. By taking ginger extracts, they suffered significantly less from vomiting and nausea. ”(Sb)