FSA Inside Scoop - Don't let motion sickness get in the way of your summer
Water is surrounding you in all directions. The sun is shining. Friends are hanging out on a boat...and you're forced off to the side because of motion sickness.
Whether by land, air or sea, motion sickness can conquer the best of us. Long car rides, small boat trips, roller coasters, flights…you name it, and it can cause motion sickness if you're not prepared.
But, we're not here to just present problems. Let's talk about a few ways to help alleviate these annoying (and vacation-ruining) motion sickness symptoms.
What actually causes this?
Motion sickness is what happens when the motion sensed in your inner ear is different from what you're visualizing. Basically, your senses don't match up...and what happens next is never fun.
What typically starts out as an "off" feeling, accompanied by dizziness and sweating, and… well, we don't need to go into the gory details. Just know it will probably put a damper on your whole day. If you have these symptoms, you're hardly alone -- motion sickness affects up to 90% of people at some point or another. Here are some simple, precautionary measures to help you stay ahead.
Choose your seat wisely
Depending on how you're traveling, there are different things you can do to keep yourself feeling good and balanced.
If you're in a car, sit up front. (We don't recommend driving when feeling queasy). On ships, reserve a cabin in the front or middle of the ship, or on the upper deck. If you're flying, ask for a seat over the wing. These sections tend to have less motion and vibration, while also offering a better view of the horizon.
Eyes up, captain!
If you're starting to feel those tell-tale symptoms of motion sickness, look up and focus on the horizon or on a distant, stationary object. This can help your body focus and adjust itself to fight off the nausea. Also, make sure to not read anything or stare at your phone, since this usually makes the symptoms worse, thanks to your body's equilibrium having an even harder time recalibrating.
The problem? It's tough to keep perfectly still when the car hits bumps in the road, or the people next to you keep getting up from their seats. But when you can, try and keep your head still, while also resting against a seat back to steady yourself.
If you need a hand (or a wrist, anyway), drug-free wrist bands can be a big help if you can't avoid taking certain trips. These handy items target pressure points, specifically those on your inner wrist, which have proven to relieve motion sickness by sending pressure messages, which usually reach the brain faster than the ones making you queasy.
Don't ask for trouble
Keeping motion sickness at bay is an ongoing challenge, and even though you might not be leaving for a trip for a few days, you still need to prepare for the worst by avoiding things that could lead to problems. For example, smoking is one trigger, so don't (for this and so many other reasons).
Even if smoke bothers you, it's going to be way worse when you're feeling a little "off." Try to avoid being near smokers whenever possible. Outdoor concerts are a huge culprit - make sure you schedule your concerts and trips with enough recovery time in between, whenever possible.
Also, even though it might seem obvious, when you're traveling, you probably don't eat as well as you should. It's hard to avoid, but try and show a little restraint by being smarter about meals before and during the trip. This means avoiding spicy/greasy foods and alcohol.
(Sorry to all of you who enjoy wings and beer on every trip… it's time to embrace a good road salad instead!)
You might want to skip those wings and beer competitions, too, since overeating is another huge trigger for motion sickness. You definitely want to have something in your stomach, but we're thinking a sensible meal, not a pound of chicken slathered in ghost pepper sauce.
When all else fails, let your tax-free funds help…
Not only are those wrist bands we mentioned pretty effective, but there's also something to be said for medicines you know and trust. Nausea medicine is an eligible over-the-counter (OTC) medicine with a prescription from a doctor, using your FSA health savings account (HSA) or a health reimbursement arrangement (HRA).
Just follow the easy FSA Store Prescription Process and you'll have an entire summer's worth of qualified, FSA-eligible relief available, tax (and nausea) free.