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Seasickness, jet lag & Co. - What helps with travel sickness?

The long-awaited summer vacation is coming, we want to finally relax and enjoy ourselves, but sometimes the body does not go along so easily. Already the journey can become for some the first stress test, by dizziness and nausea. The unfamiliar food hits some people on the stomach and mosquitoes drive you crazy. Beware of travel sickness!

But of course we don't want to let that take away from our vacation enjoyment! It's best to find out about the one or other pitfalls that may await you before you travel.

Typical diseases that can occur on vacation

Sea/travel sickness

It's not only on a ship that you can get seasick. Motion sickness can also be triggered in a car, on a train or in an airplane. It is triggered by unfamiliar movement stimuli that disturb the sense of balance. The organ of balance in the ear registers the motion of driving, but the eye perceives motion cues that differ from this and the body reacts to the different information. The symptoms of motion sickness are very varied and are further exacerbated by great excitement or anxiety. Many react with dizziness, vomiting, Headache & Migraine, Fatigue or sweating.

The side of a large ship in the sunset on the water

If you get motion sickness quickly, you can prevent it by choosing the right seat:

  • In the car or bus it helps to position yourself at the very front. Looking in the direction of travel at a fixed point on the horizon helps the sense of balance to stabilize.
  • On the ship it helps to go out into the fresh air and also look at the horizon. You feel the least fluctuation in the middle of the ship.
  • At Airplane the seats above the wings are the quietest.

In addition, one should eat only light meals before and during the trip and avoid alcohol or cigarettes. Some people find it helpful to chew gum. There are also specially developed travel chewing gums against nausea.

While driving, you should not read or look at your smartphone, so do not look down.

Distraction can be a good remedy for motion sickness, especially for children. During the trip, music, a radio play or a podcast can provide the necessary distraction.

Jet lag

Jet lag is not an illness in itself, but rather a disturbance of one's own bio-rhythm. During long-distance travel, one often crosses several time zones in a very short time, but one's own internal clock is still attuned to the time of the place of departure. The changeover does not take any time and affects the well-being. Flights to the West lengthen our day, flights to the East shorten our normal daily rhythm. It is often easier for the body to process a flight to the West.

A clock hangs on a blue wall, below is a shelf with a jug and a pineapple

Typical symptoms of jet lag involve the Sleep and appetite. After a flight to the East, it is often difficult to fall asleep at the usual time, whereas on a trip to the West, one gets tired earlier. The sleep disturbances lead to fatigue and irritability, and depressive moods may develop. The sudden time change hits some people in the stomach and causes loss of appetite and digestive problems.

In case of jet lag, you should live directly according to the new local time, regardless of whether you are west or east of your home town. The first days in the new time zone you should take it easy, so as not to overtax the body immediately and spend a lot of time outdoors. The daylight helps the bio-rhythm to adapt to the new time.

Gastrointestinal disease

Especially in the first days of vacation, the stomach often reacts sensitively to the unfamiliar food. Many people think they are suffering directly from food poisoning, but this is rarely true. Food poisoning is caused by toxins, i.e. poisonous substances. A gastrointestinal illness, on the other hand, is usually based on germs ingested through food or water.

To anticipate gastrointestinal upset, it helps to peel food and use only boiled water. Unlike bacteria, germs are sensitive to heat and can thus be easily killed. When it comes to drinks, you can play it safe by drinking only industrially bottled beverages and avoiding tap water, ice cubes or dairy products.

However, if you are already suffering from nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea, it is important to drink a lot! Electrolytes from the pharmacy supply the body with the necessary minerals and often get you back on your feet quickly.

Food poisoning

In case of actual food poisoning, the affected person suffers from diarrhea, nausea and abdominal cramps. A motion sickness to be taken first! The first signs typically appear very quickly after ingestion of the contaminated or spoiled food. Bacteria and salmonella, which can cause food poisoning, are often found in meals that are kept warm covered. Poultry and fish are particularly often affected. 

Here, too, it helps to drink plenty of water and tea, since the body loses a lot of fluid through diarrhea. Electrolytes, salt sticks or rusks can restore the salt balance to normal. Plenty of sleep and rest are important so that the body can recover. However, if high fever and dizziness occur, it is better to consult a doctor.

Mosquito bites

Many travel destinations are also places with many mosquitoes. The constant itching of the bites can spoil your vacation. Furthermore, the bites can trigger allergic reactions and serious infectious diseases can be transmitted by mosquitoes. The right mosquito protection is therefore all the more important. 

To protect yourself from the pesky mosquitoes, it helps to wear light and long clothes. These protect at the same time from the sun and breathable fabrics such as linen also feels pleasant on the skin. Mosquito sprays protect acutely from the bites and can be sprayed again and again on uncovered parts of the body. To have peace at night, fly nets should be attached to all doors and windows. Alternatively, you can hang a large mosquito net over your bed.

Infectious and tropical diseases

The most common tropical diseases are malaria, typhoid, paratyphoid, dengue fever and Q fever. Before traveling, it is essential to find out which infectious diseases could be dangerous in the destination country. The RKI has published a clear overview of all travel-associated diseases. The website of the German Foreign Office also provides a great deal of information on common infectious and tropical diseases. Nobody should underestimate such travel diseases!

The sun should not be underestimated!

Whether dizziness, headaches, flickering eyes, malaise, nausea or even fainting - for many people, heat causes circulatory problems. We often travel to countries with high temperatures that put a lot of strain on the body. 

You can learn what to do about heat-related illnesses and how to prevent them in another blog article from the ZIMPLYfy blog: Sunstroke, heat exhaustion and co. - how to get through the heat well.

The right sun protection is incredibly important. We often underestimate the power of the sun's rays. Carefully applying sunscreen to the whole body often takes too long or we are simply too lazy to make the effort. Especially in typical vacation countries in the south, however, the sun is to be enjoyed with caution! 

The importance of proper sun protection, as well as the effect of too much UV radiation on the skin is also discussed separately in one of our blog articles. There you will also learn helpful tips for healthy sunbathing, as well as for care after sunbathing. Here you can get to the Blog article: Sunbathing with care.

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