There are people who will get in a matatu, with groundnuts on one hand, fries on their laps and a container of milk on the other. For them, the process of travelling is as simple as eating their fries slowly, washing them down with a sip of milk and occasionally confusing their digestive juices with a ground nut or two. Others will get in a matatu and sleep as soon as they are in motion. They will sleep through bumps and rough patches in the road. Then there are those who will get in a matatu and head for a seat by the window roll down the window, rummage through their luggage for a black polythene bag and keep it close. Once the vehicle is in motion, their stomachs churn and they retch and retch. Most will throw up the bitter acid from their stomach and food from a day ago. The other passengers will of course look at them and wonder why people eat too much just before they travel. Bad conductors will bark nasty stuff like having to clean the matatu and self-control and stuff like that.
Well, what most people don’t know is that, throwing up when travelling is a disease! Motion sickness is a disease just like malaria. And no, you can’t fight the urge to vomit.
So what is motion sickness?
Also called car sickness or sea-sickness, is the feeling you get when the motion you sense with your inner ear is different from the motion you visualize
Symptoms of motion sickness begin as soon as a car is in motion. These include;
- Cold sweat
- Hyper salivation
There are people who will get in a matatu and travel for fun. There are those of us who try as much as possible to avoid travelling. For those of us who suffer from motion sickness, travelling is an awful experience that will be punctuated by retching, vomiting and awful glances from fellow passengers.
Motion sickness is an awful experience that for some reason is commoner in women and young children. Those prone to this condition will avoid travelling as much as is possible. But they will more often than find themselves in a matatu, clutching a black polythene bag travelling to school, to their places of job or to the country-side.
The good news is, motion sickness can be prevented. Here is how;
- Avoid fatty meals 24 hours before traveling
- During Car travel- sit in the front seat if possible- this helps to visualize the motion that you will perceive
- Avoid smoking- cigarettes are not only bad to your lungs apparently! (Of course you know this).
You can also take some anti-emetic (drugs that prevent vomiting) before travelling. Here are some that can be used;
- promethazine- these tiny tablets work wonders.
They will prevent nausea and vomiting but they will make you very sleepy, you will miss the scenery and if you are too unlucky, You might get robbed ( God forbid)
- Cyclizine- can be bought over the counter. Take 30 minutes before travelling.
- Scopolamine- this is administered as an injection.
- scopolamine- may also be used.
So next time you are seated to a bored young lady who won’t accept your roasted maize in a matatu, don’t be quick to call her proud. She might be suffering from motion sickness.
If you are among the lucky majority, here is how you can make life a little better for the unlucky minority;
- Let them have the window seat- you can always look at the scenery on the return journey.
- If you must eat, please avoid njugu karanga, roasted maize and fries. The smell from this food stuff worsens the nausea!
- Avoid strong perfumes and body sprays!
- Don’t remove your shoes in the matatu ( PLEASE)
- Don’t drink and travel ( ha-ha).
- Fill your petrol tanks before passengers board( DRIVERS and CONDUCTORS)
- Travel clean- with brushed teeth!
- You have a right to be disgusted but remember everybody hates vomiting. Be kind!