Do you have any good strategies for not getting sick on rollercoasters?
February 6, 2019 9:51 AM   Subscribe

I love rollercoasters, and am planning an amusement park road trip with my son that is built around riding a whole bunch of them. But in my middle age I have started to get motion sickness from riding. It's the standard queasiness and bellyache stuff, where I feel like I'm gonna barf and then can't eat afterward. The internet suggests that Sea-Bands or Dramamine or [insert miracle cure] all work great, and simultaneously that none of them work at all. Do you have a strategy/regimen that has helped you keep riding?
posted by AgentRocket to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (16 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Dramamine definitely helps with seasickness, but causes extreme drowsiness- I was too drowsy to really enjoy my day on a boat. You might have luck with the non-drowsy version; I haven't tried it myself.
posted by nouvelle-personne at 10:00 AM on February 6

I don't know the details of your son so this may not work, but have you considered inviting one of his friends along to ride with him while you take exciting videos of them tearing by? And pay for tickets and food and ice cream and all the other stuff that makes the fun possible?
posted by Gilgamesh's Chauffeur at 10:07 AM on February 6 [3 favorites]

I have a roller-coaster friend with motion sickness for whom Dramamine works perfectly.
posted by Cosine at 10:07 AM on February 6

My motion sickness appeared for the first time while riding the Pirate Ship at our local amusement park - now I'm pretty heavily Dramamine dependent for any of the rides (and flying, and cruises...) That said, the non-drowsy version works fairly well. Just take it in far enough advance that it will kick in before you board the first ride.
posted by librarianamy at 10:34 AM on February 6

I have had motion sickness my whole life - including a recent uptick when I had to take Percocet and one of the side effects was extreme dizziness. The hospital suggested liquid gravol (dramamine) so I'm not sure you can do much better than that. I notice that my motion sickness is far worse on spinning rides than it is on straightforward rollercoasters.
posted by cranberrymonger at 10:48 AM on February 6

While riding, turn your head side-to-side as little as possible, especially when you are under excess positive or negative G-forces (along your feet-to-head axis), or said another way, don't swivel your head when it's under acceleration. If you do, the fluid in your cochleas flows all which way and it confounds your body's balance. I believe the fluid-moving-funky in your inner ear and the discrepancy between what your eyes are seeing and what your inner ears are feeling are both sources of nausea.
posted by achrise at 10:51 AM on February 6

I'm a rollercoaster head and I'm also prone to motion sickness. I've actually used Sea Bands with great success. Also, chewing on ginger candies between rides helps a lot, or at least it did me.
posted by holborne at 10:53 AM on February 6 [2 favorites]

If you're gonna try Dramamine, I suggest taking one on another day to see how it affects you. Some people don't really get the drowsiness but it will knock me out to the point of really not being functional.
posted by noxperpetua at 11:34 AM on February 6 [2 favorites]

The drowsiness of dramamine/gravol varies greatly per person. I've never felt the slightest bit of drowsiness from it, but I'm seen it near knock some people out. Definitely test some time before.
posted by nobeagle at 12:29 PM on February 6

Definitely ginger.
posted by humboldt32 at 1:01 PM on February 6

You would never get me on a rollercoaster, but Bonine has helped me with motion sickness from flying. I had a weird reaction to Dramamine years ago but Bonine is fine for me.
posted by mermayd at 3:52 PM on February 6

Where you sit on a roller coaster can also affect your experience -- it is visually more dramatic sitting in the front, you'll get "whipped around" more at the tail end (think like a whip), and the mildest section is actually around the middle of the roller coaster train.

I learned this from a super experienced roller coaster fan (as in, he'd travel long distances to try out different ones in various parks). I used to have a hard time with roller coasters and when I visited him in California, he took me to a nearby one to experience it 3 times, in all 3 different "zones". Wow, what a difference!

In summary, you may want to also consider *where* you are sitting on a roller coaster, as well as whatever medication you are taking. Depending on the park, if you cannot easily choose your own seating area, you can often ask the ride attendant that you need to sit in the middle section and they should be able to help you with that.
posted by Jade Dragon at 4:31 PM on February 6

I use a product called MotionEaze that works wonders on airplanes and boats. I assume it would help with roller coasters too. It is an oil you rub behind your ears.

It sounds like nonsense, but has worked for me and I get motion sick easily.
posted by tacodave at 4:56 PM on February 6

Seconding Bonine. No tiredness in the day or insomnia at night. I knew what would make me sick and the rides didn’t when I took Bonine.
posted by tayknight at 8:02 PM on February 6

You have probably thought of this already, but just in case: check to see if the type of motion makes a difference in how sick you get. I am a lifelong roller coaster fan and never used to have any issues with nausea, ever. As I've gotten older, I now definitely get queasy when I go on any kind of ride that spins around in a circular motion. I have zero problems with coasters that go up and down, regardless of the speed or whippyness. It's just the spinning that gets me. So now I avoid those types of rides completely. Worth checking out if you haven't already.
posted by widdershins at 10:10 AM on February 7

Ginger. I get sick on everything. It takes a little planning ahead but I never go to an amusement park (or any mode of travel) without dosing myself with ginger the day before. And I continue it throughout the day(s) of the trip. Ginger capsules are available at Mother’s Market/Whole Foods or the equivalent. I take 3 capsules with each meal the day before and during whatever adventure we’re having. It’s kind of a pain but nothing else makes me feel normal, rather than wanting to die. Good luck and have fun!
posted by killy willy at 4:04 PM on February 7

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