Travel Sickness Treatment
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This medicine works best before you start to feel ill, so it's recommended that you put on a patch 5 to 6 hoursbefore travel. However, you can also use the patch during travel to help reduce nausea.
To ensure that you put on the patch correctly, follow these steps:
- Remove the patch from its seal and peel off the clear, hexagonal plastic backing. Hold the patch by its edge and be careful to avoid touching the sticky side.
- To put the patch on, find a dry, hairless area of skin behind your ear and press the silver-coloured sticky side in place. Hold the patch there and count slowly to ten.
- Next, wash your hands thoroughly.
- When you remove the patch, wash your hands thoroughly afterwards, as well as washing the area of skin where the patch has been.
If the patch comes off accidentally during your journey, throw away the patch, wash the area, as advised above, and put a new patch on behind the other ear.
Each patch lasts for up to 3 days (72 hours). You can use Scopoderm patches for longer journeys – just take the patch off after 3 days and put a new one behind the other ear.
Scopoderm patches contain a substance called hyoscine hydrobromide, which is one of the most widely used medications to treat travel sickness. This is due to the ease of application, discretion and long treatment time. Hyoscine is absorbed through your skin via the Scopoderm patch. Each patch contains 1.5mg of hyoscine and can be kept on for up to three days.
Scopoderm patches are effective in treating all kinds of motion and travel sickness. They are especially useful when a long treatment time is required, for exaple on a cruise or coach trip.
When travelling, it is possible to begin to feel travel sick when there is a conflict between what your inner ear can sense (your balance) and what your eyes can see. When this conflict begins it can make you feel unsteady, disorientated and nauseous. Hyoscine works by reducing this conflict in your brain.
Hyoscine blocks receptors called muscarinic (or cholinergic) in the vomiting centre from receiving messages from the vestibular system (the area that senses balance and spatial awareness). This prevents the internal confusion, which causes the feeling of nausea.
As with any medicine, there are potential side-effects. The most commonly reported side-effect is a dryness of the mouth, although this does not last long.
Other side effects include:
- Sleepiness, dizziness, confusion and hallucinations.
- Blurred vision.
- Redness or itching of the skin where a patch has been.
If any of these effects are severe, or if you experience any other side effects, take the patch off and consult a Doctor. Also seek medical assistance if any side effect lasts for over 24 hours, after removing the patch. However, it is rare for the symptoms to persist this long.
Due to the potential side effect of drowsiness, you must not drive or operate machinery whilst wearing a Scopoderm patch.
It's important to always wash your hands after inserting or removing a Scopoderm patch. You should also try to avoid touching the patch whilst it's on. This is because, if you touch your eyes with hyoscine on your fingers, the substance can temporarily blur your vision.
Also, do not drink alcohol or take other anti-sickness medicines whilst using Scopoderm patches.
Provided that you have applied the patch properly, you can swim, bathe or shower with little risk of it coming off. However, it is best not to stay in the water too long.
Do not cut the patches in an attempt to reduce the dosage. This may release a much larger dose in a short time period.
During your consultation, we will determine whether Scopoderm patches are suitable for you. However, speak to your doctor before using Scopoderm patches if:
- You suffer from any serious gastrointestinal, kidney, liver or bladder disease
- You suffer from epilepsy
- You are pregnant or breast-feeding
- If you have ever had glaucoma
- Have a history of bladder or bowel obstruction
- If you've had a bad reaction to hyoscine, or other anti-sickness medication in the past
Scopoderm patches are not suitable for children less than 10 years old.
You should also inform your doctor, before you buy Scopoderm patches, if you are taking any other medicines.
About Travel Sickness
The Independent Pharmacy Online Doctor service allows patients who require a supply of prescription travel sickness patches to have a private consultation with a doctor and receive the treatment they require in a safe and discreet manner.
Travel sickness is also known as motion sickness. Travel sickness is a general term that incorporates seasickness, carsickness and airsickness depending on the mode of travel. The condition can cause the onset of several unpleasant symptoms, such as dizziness, nausea and vomiting. These symptoms are experienced when travelling. In the majority of cases the symptoms of travel sickness subside as the body adapts to the motions that cause the problem. Unfortunately, some sufferers are unable to adapt to the environment causing the condition so will continue to experience symptoms until their journey finishes or they leave said environment.
The vestibular system is a system in the body responsible for balance. It is comprised of a complex series of nerves, small channels and fluids that are located inside your inner ear. When the body is in motion, it causes the fluid inside the vestibular system to change position. This positional change is transmitted to the brain so that it is able to determine exactly how fast and where you are moving. This allows the body to maintain balance.
Motion sickness occurs when the body’s senses become confused. This confusion arises from conflicting information between the body’s sense and the vestibular system. For example, if travelling in a car at forty miles an hour, your eyes register that you are in motion, travelling at speed. However, your vestibular system is telling your brain you are in fact sitting still. It’s this contradictory information that can lead to the symptoms of motion sickness.
In the majority of cases motion sickness is caused by travel, be that air, sea or land. However, motion sickness can sometimes occur from watching certain movies or playing fast-paced computer games. The shaking or motion of the camera work in some films, and the realistic graphics in computer games can generate the same mismatch of signals to the brain.
The main symptom associated with travel sickness is nausea. This can be accompanied by feelings of discomfort in the upper abdomen as well a general sense of feeling unwell. This symptoms can then progress and can include; pale skin, cold sweat, and increase in saliva production, dizziness and vomiting. In more severe cases symptoms can include; headaches, drowsiness, extreme tiredness and rapid, shallow breathing.
Diagnosing motion sickness will be result of observing the signs and symptoms and determining that they only occur when you are in motion. Most of the time motion sickness can be self-diagnosed without the need to see a doctor. If more severe symptoms occur, or if symptoms continue when motion has stopped, you should see a doctor for further investigation.
There are various pharmacy treatments available that can be used to treat travel sickness. These range from tablet and liquids to patches. If taking an oral medicine for motion sickness, it is recommended to take the medication before the journey. This is because travel sickness can slow normal digestion and therefore the body may not properly absorb medicine taken after the onset of symptoms. It may also be difficult to take medicine once nausea and sickness has set in.
Hyoscine is a widely used medicine used to treat travel sickness. It comes in both tablet form (Kwells & Joy Rides) and as an external patch (Scopoderm). Hyoscine works by blocking some of the nerve signals sent from the vestibular system to the brain. If using Kwells or Joy Rides the tablets will need to be taken before travel. If embarking on a longer journey, Scopoderm patches will be a more suitable option. Scopoderm Patches can be applied to the skin and will continue to work for three days before the patch will need to be replaced. Scopoderm patches are suitable for use when nausea and sickness has already set in as they can be applied directly to the skin without the need to swallow medication.
Antihistamines can also be used to treat travel sickness as they are effective at controlling the symptoms of nausea and vomiting. There are several different types of antihistamine that are suitable in the treatment of motion sickness, these include:
- Cinnarizine (Stugeron Tablets)
- Promethazine (Phenergan Tablets and Liquid, Avomine Tablets)
Antihistamines are usually taken two hours before travelling. If it’s a long journey, the dose will need to be repeated after eight hours. You should check the individual dose for each product before taking any treatment.
Non-medicinal treatments are also available, for example acupressure bands (Sea bands). These fabric bands are worn around the wrists and work by applying pressure to certain point that lie between the two tendons that run down your inner arm. These pressure is thought to help reduce the symptoms of travel sickness.
- Trying to minimise head and body movements. If travelling by boat or plane then by choosing a cabin or seat situated in the middle of the craft, you will reduce the amount of movement suffered.
- Getting fresh air. Where safe and possible open a window or move to the top deck of a ship to allow for a supply of fresh air.
- Avoid eating large meals or drinking alcohol whilst travelling.
- Fix your vision on a stable object. For example, fix your vision on the horizon.
- Avoid reading and playing games as this can make the symptoms worse.
- Closing your eyes may help to relieve symptoms.
- Try to relax and stay calm. The more you worry about travel sickness the more likely you are to experience it.
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