Travel Reviews

Motion Sickness Patches – The pros, cons and potential side effects.

My problem with using motion sickness patches was not so much the wearing of them but the post-withdrawal symptoms…..

As with all medical products there are always going to be some side effects which happen to some people, so please don’t let my experience with patches put you off trying them as you may have great results. However I am sharing my experience of them in a blog purely because I have only just, weeks later made a connection with wearing these and suffering with very severe nose bleeds and eye pain/pressure. I just want to make others aware that this ‘could’ be a potential side effect.

The motion sickness patches which I used.


Thankfully I have never suffered with any kind of travel sickness in my adult life and having done a fair bit of of sailing and quite a few cruises I have been lucky to always have pretty good sea legs! Hence although I have on a few occasions packed some travel sickness pills for the kids (just in case) I can’t remember ever purchasing anything for myself.

The only time travel has ever effected me in such a way was 20 years ago when my then husband and I took the Orient Express train from London to Venice. We were onboard the train over 24 hrs and although I didn’t actually suffer with sickness, I had acute nausea and vertigo so badly that I couldn’t even stand up or walk by the time we got to Venice, it just felt like the whole world was spinning.

This was my only major concern when more recently I booked 2 days on the Rocky Mountaineer and other onward rail trips across Canada and the USA, so hence I looked online to see if I could find any suitable product which would keep nausea and vertigo at bay but which wouldn’t make me drowsy. I discovered the above patches on Amazon, they had excellent reviews and were relatively in-expensive so I decided to given them a try.

Prior to boarding the Rocky Mountaineer on both days I duly stuck the patches behind my ears as instructed and am pleased to report that I had absolutely feeling of nausea or vertigo on either day of the journey. The patches had served me well. I took them off when we arrived at our destination in Banff. However, having reached the grand age of 47 and never had a nosebleed in my life I had one each of the 3 mornings we were there, they occurred as soon as I got up and went from horizontal to vertical position.

I never suspected the patches at the time and was questioning was it the long flight? though I have flown 100’s of times and never suffered before. I therefore suspected they were more likely caused by the change of altitude and coming up on the train through the Rocky Mountains – which I must add were SPECTACULAR!!

Our spectacular rail journey through the Rocky Mountains.

From Banff we got the coach the Calgary where we stayed for 5 nights, then flew to Toronto and later just a short two hour train ride to Niagara State Park. During all of our stays here I was absolutely fine and no more nose bleeds. “It must have been the altitude in the Rockies” I thought to myself.

Then we had another train journey from Niagara to Albany, this was a longer one of over 6 hrs, so I thought just as a precaution I would stick on the patches again. I duly did so and once again had a completely trouble free journey. Arrived in Albany and took them off – bang 2am I wake up choking on my own blood, another nose bleed, this one more severe than the others but as before was only from the left side of nose but accompanied by the most horrendous feeling of pressure behind my left eye as well. The pain and pressure remained all of the next day as well. The nose bleeds reoccurred over the next 3 nights, each one getting worse, with the 3rd one genuinely frightening me as it was so heavy. We were alone in an un-manned apartment and I just couldn’t get it to stop. I was just as terrified I would pass out or even bleed to death, leaving my 6 yr old son with no way of getting help. I may have been being a little over dramatic, but in the moment it was pretty scary until it finally calmed down an hour or so later.

From there we moved on to New York City, I didn’t use the patches for the final short rail journey and once again in New York I was fine. Then it was time to fly home, the weather for the flight home was horrific, NYC was on storm alert and was just getting lashed by the tail end of a hurricane. I knew it was going to be a rough flight home and although I have never suffered with air sickness, I put the patches on for the flight home, purely because they were sat in my handbag.

That evening at home I had the worst nose bleed of them all – nose, mouth, eyes, it was like a scene from alien, and once again accompanied by this horrific feeling of pain behind my left eye but this time even worse, I felt like my head was going to explode. Thankfully my ex-husband had been staying at my house to look after our pets whilst we were away and he was still here when it happened. Finally after more than half an hour of me gushing blood he called the ambulance. They arrived about 10 minutes later and said that there was more blood in my bedroom than the stabbing they had just come from!!!!!

It took them around 40 minutes to stop the bleeding, they stayed with me for quite a while afterwards and no sooner had they left the house than it started all over again. Thankfully the paramedics were still sat in the ambulance eating their sandwiches and awaiting central clearance as Chris had to call them back inside again.

They tested all my vital signs, blood pressure etc and said it was all fine so the good news was that I wasn’t at immediate risk of having a stroke. I had however by this stage convinced myself that I had a brain tumour or something because of this continuous pressure and pain behind my eye. Thankfully however the doctor quickly ruled that one out the following day too.

The nosebleeds continued to go on for another week or so, although thankfully each got lighter in flow and shorter in duration until they eventually stopped completely.

I still had not made any connection between the nose bleed and the patches until just a few days ago until I read an article written by another travel blogger describing how she had suffered very blurred vision whilst on a cruise ship and when attending the ships medical centre was told that this was a common side effect of the sea sickness patches, which of course she too was wearing. It then all made sense and when I worked it back all the nose bleeds along with the pain and pressure which I had been feeling behind my eye were following my time wearing the patches too.

It may of course be a coincidence, however the pattern of timing makes me now suspect otherwise. Hence I am putting the information out there so that if you or anyone else you may know suffers from similar symptoms either whilst wearing the patches or post-withdrawal it is a possibility that they may be a contributory factor.
However with any suchlike medical symptoms it is worth seeking professional medical advice too as soon as you are able.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s