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3 Natural Cures for Motion Sickness, Sunburns, and Airplane Ear

Summer is all about traveling and enjoying life with the family — but earaches, sunburns, and tummy troubles don’t take a break just because you do! To the rescue: Three natural remedies doctors rely on for their own kids’ away-from-home health hiccups.  

For Motion Sickness

A soothing sip: “When my family went on a boat trip in California, the choppy waters got to my son, leaving him feeling quite queasy,” recalls Detroit father-of-two Anthony Youn, MD, author of The Age Fix: A Leading Plastic Surgeon Reveals How to Really Look 10 Years Younger ($11.98, Amazon). To quell his son’s nausea, Dr. Youn offered him his favorite car-sickness cure: a half cup of ginger ale containing real ginger. “Ginger is believed to calm intestinal spasms and slow mobility, soothing the gastrointestinal tract,” explains Youn. While he didn’t wait until the soda was flat, he did skip the straw, which can make a child gassy and add to the discomfort. After taking small sips for about 10 minutes, Youn’s son was back to smooth sailing.

For Sunburns

A cooling lotion: While it’s well-known that calamine relieves poison-ivy itch, it’s also great for sunburns, according to neurologist Traci A. Purath, MD, a mother of three in Greenfield, Wisconsin. “I’m a big fan and have it with me wherever we travel,” she says. “In fact, I just used it when we were vacationing in Florida and my son burned his shoulders.” The lotion evaporates after application and creates a cooling sensation that helps relieve the ouch associated with sunburns — without drying out the skin. “Plus, calamine contains zinc oxide, which has antiseptic properties to help prevent infection from scratching,” explains Dr. Purath. Bonus: Zinc oxide also protects skin from additional burns.

For “Airplane Ear”

Gummy snacks: “All four of my kids have experienced ‘airplane ear’ at some point,” says Farzanna S. Haffizulla, MD, assistant dean for community and global health at the Nova Southeastern University College of Allopathic Medicine in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. To help, she offers them gummy worms at takeoff and descent. The effort it takes to chew a gummy opens the ear’s eustachian tube, the canal that equalizes air pressure, to ease pain. “It works even better when the gummies are sour,” adds Dr. Haffizulla. “Sour increases the production of saliva, which prompts more swallowing. More swallowing keeps the eustachian tube working hard to balance pressure.”

This story originally appeared in our print magazine.

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