For extra sensitive persons prevention of motion sickness through medication can be considered. H1-antihistamines, having an anti-emetic effect are used for this purpose. They have to be taken ½ to 1 hour before the journey starts and in longer travels it can be considered to take an extra dose after six hours. It is very important to stress that these types of medication cannot be taken by pregnant women. Small children under the age of two years should not be given any anti motion sickness medication either. It is a fact that motion sickness does not regularly occur in young children any way. Be very careful as well when driving a vehicle when under the influence of the medication: it has a very sedative affect and you could fall asleep behind the wheel of your car. Same restrictions apply if you are working with heavy power tools: the danger here is that the medication affects your ability to concentrate, with possible serious accidents as a consequence.
A recent article in The Lancet shows once again that there is no one remedy to counteract or prevent jet lag. Some people advice melatonin, next to a lot of measures, not involving medication. There is a lot of conflicting evidence to be found when researching the effects of melatonin on jet lag. Sometimes a favorable effect is reported in the scientific literature and sometimes no effects at all are reported. What to think about that? Fact is however that there is very little known about the safety of using melatonin. Some studies show it to have an effect on the medication that prevents the blood from coagulating prematurely. Some countries have banned the use of melatonin in drugs all together. So as always: when in doubt consult your family doctor who will advise you what best to do.
This was part 6 of a series of 6 articles about travel and medication. The other parts being: Part 1 Vaccinations – Part 2 Travelers diarrhea – Part 3 Lyme’s disease – Part 4 mountain sickness and heat stroke – Part 5 Malaria – Part 6 motion sickness and jet lag.