Tuesday 20 February 2018

Car sickness: Six things to help ease the misery

Car sickness can be awful
Car sickness can be awful
Eddie Cunningham

Eddie Cunningham

I am aware of how awful car sickness can be - my twin daughters were tormented by it.

I get constant queries about how to deal with it but I don't think there is an outright 'cure'. It's more a combination of factors.

Sometimes the best you can hope for is an easing of the nausea.

There is new research - and advice - this week which shows that sitting in the back seat with your head down playing video games or watching movies, can have you feeling ill in 10 minutes.

Younger children and teenagers are worst affected.

Stop-start traffic and winding roads also worsen the condition obviously.

The latest research is being carried out by Ford with the help of motion sickness experts.

They say the condition is caused by mismatches between "signals the brain receives from the eyes and from the organs of balance, in the ear".

Babies don't get car sick - but when they are able to walk they do. Even pets can be affected.

Prof Jelte Bos, of TNO, Perceptual and Cognitive Systems, Soesterberg, Netherlands says car sickness is complex.

"It is a natural reaction to an unnatural stimulus that cannot be cured as such. But we can look to alleviate the symptoms," he says.

Initial testing by Ford and the experts found when screens were mounted higher, and the road ahead could be seen on either side, passengers were less likely to feel sick.

And Prof Bos adds: "For many drivers who think their child has a problem with car sickness it might simply be that their child has a problem with their driving.

"Adopting a smoother driving style goes a long way towards reducing feelings of nausea." That is obvious but maybe we overlook it.

Anyway, here are six ways he suggests car sickness can be eased:

* Move to the middle in the back seats, or preferably the front, to see the road ahead.

* Drive smoothly and avoid sudden braking, harsh acceleration, potholes.

* Distract sufferers - even a family sing-along could help. (Tried it years ago; it didn't help with my children at all. Only made them worse).

* Drink cola, eat ginger biscuits, but avoid coffee.

* Use a pillow or support to keep your head as still as possible

* Use the air-con to keep fresh air circulating.

Tell us of your experiences and helpful tips:

Contact ecunningham@independent.ie

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