All About the Motion Sickness Patch

By Jenny Green; Updated June 08, 2017

When motion sickness strikes

All About the Motion Sickness Patch

Up and down or side to side goes the boat, plane or bus, and so does your stomach – right? There's nothing good about the nausea, sweating, dizziness, tiredness and upchucking of motion sickness. So if your auntie's homemade ginger remedy never works, and you've watched the horizon until your eyes feel like they're going to pop out of your head, it's probably time to try a motion sickness patch.

How to use a patch to prevent motion sickness

"Pop it behind your ear and forget about it" is the mantra of the motion sickness patch. The treatment works by releasing its active ingredient into your bloodstream through your skin, and putting the patch behind your ear keeps it out of harm's way. The best time to apply your patch is six to eight hours before your journey begins. Here's how to apply it:

  1. Wash your hands with soap and water.
  2. Open the protective pouch and take out the patch. 
  3. Stick the patch to an area of healthy, unbroken skin behind your ear that's hair-free, dry and clean.
  4. Firmly smooth down the edges of the patch with your fingertips so that it sticks well.
  5. Wash your hands again.

That's it! You can shower, take a bath and go swimming with a motion sickness patch.

How long can you wear a motion sickness patch?

The effects of a motion sickness patch wear off after three days. It won't hurt to leave the patch on longer, but you're unlikely to feel any benefit. If you're traveling for longer than 72 hours, remove the used patch and apply a fresh one behind the other ear.

Do you need a prescription?

You need to ask your physician for a prescription if you want a motion sickness patch, because the treatment isn't for everyone. For instance, some of the side effects are drowsiness, blurred vision, confusion and dry mouth. If you have pre-existing medical conditions, a motion sickness patch might not be the best option. Your physician can tell you if a patch is the right treatment for you.

Alternatives to the motion sickness patch

Physical therapies, remedies or other medications are some of the alternatives to try if a motion sickness patch is a no-go. Check out these ideas:

  • Keep your eyes to the front and focused on the horizon.
  • If the horizon's hidden from view, close your eyes and keep your head still.
  • Tilt your head when the car, bus or plane turns.
  • Move around the vehicle if you can.
  • If you have to remain in your seat, brace yourself to resist the vehicle's motion.
  • Lie down if you can or recline your head at least 30 degrees.
  • Try ginger, peppermint or black horehound motion sickness tablets.
  • Wear acupressure bands on your wrists.
  • Try alternative motion sickness medications such as Phenergan, Marezine or Dramamine.

About the Author

Jenny Green