Q. We are planning to take a family cruise this summer. I tend to get sea sick and am worried about our kids suffering from motion sickness as well. My doctor prescribes a scopolamine patch for me. Is scopolamine an option for children?
Motion sickness is caused by mixed messages getting sent to the central nervous system because of real or perceived motion. For example, riding on a long car ride, the rocking motion of a boat, or even watching certain types of motion on a screen can provoke motion sickness. Some people are more prone to motion sickness than others.
It is difficult to know whether your child will experience motion sickness or not, but there are some predictors: a prior history of motion sickness, a family history of motion sickness and a history of migraine headaches. Travel on smaller boats is associated with a higher incidence of motion sickness when compared to larger cruise ships.
Some simple tips for the prevention of motion sickness include the following:
Eat small frequent meals;
Spend a little extra money to reserve a room on the lanai of the ship;
Avoid watching the water;
Focus on dry land;
Stay cool, well-rested and well-hydrated.
While on the cruise, monitor your child for such symptoms as pallor, clamminess, nausea, headache and vomiting. If you notice early signs, have your child get fresh air, cool off and drink sips of fluids.
Antihistamines such as Dramamine and Benadryl are the most common type of medications used to treat motion sickness. Your childs healthcare provider can assist you with safety and dosing information. The most common side effect of these medications is sedation. Scopolamine is a different class of medication and is not approved for use in children.
Alternative treatments such as acupressure and ginger are also available, but have not been shown to be effective in scientific studies.