English for PTA


Mal de mer, travel sickness and motion sickness all mean the same: feeling unwell when travelling by car, boat or plane. Medically known as kinetosis, it is caused by the inner ear sending signals to the brain that are different from what the eyes are actually seeing.

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There are lots of remedies for motion sickness. One is minimizing motion, by sitting in the front of the car, or in the middle of the boat. Looking straight ahead at a fixed point helps some sufferers. Children can be helped by distracting them with music or singing songs on long journeys. Fresh air is good, especially on car journeys. If all these tricks don’t work there is also ginger in the form of tea or biscuits. Ginger is also available in tablet form at the pharmacy. Female Pharmacy customer: Hello, do you speak English?

PTA: Yes, I do. How may I help you?
Do you have anything for travel sickness?

Oh, we have quite a few products. Is it for a child or an adult?
It’s for an adult.

Have you tried ginger?

Yes, ginger. Some clinical trials have shown that it helps, especially if you have problems with nausea. Apparently, it helps with the nausea associated with travel sickness.
But travel sickness is not just nausea. I have heard about acupressure in the form of special acupressure bracelets.

Yes, we have them but you have to be very exact at which pressure point that you apply them to. I have problems with travel sickness myself. It’s not always the same and actually depends on how long the trip is and if it’s me or someone else doing the driving. It’s also different if I’m on a plane or a boat.
Me too! I’m always afraid that any medication I take will make me drowsy!

While that is true, there have been a lot of advances in treatment in the last years. Aside from tablets, we have chewing gum for travel sickness, and special patches.
Patches! I thought they were only for things like contraceptives or for trying to give up smoking!

You are right there! They exist for many other indications. These patches are applied just behind the ear. They may help you with the confusion between what you see, and the signals that the ear is sending to brain when you are moving through space but your body is stationary, which cause the problem.
Aren’t there any side effects?

Yes. They include drowsiness, dry mouth and itchy eyes. Not everybody experiences these side effects. And you also have to be careful if you are taking other medication that may cause drowsiness, such as muscle relaxants, anti-allergy medication or anti-depressants.
What were you saying about ginger and chewing gum!

The chewing gum has a two-fold effect: the active ingredient helps with the motion sickness and the nausea. The saliva produced by chewing is a natural antacid which can prevent acid-reflux, also a symptom of motion sickness.
I’ll take the chewing gum and ginger tea, please.

There you are. Make sure to start chewing well before taking your trip!
I will, thank you. Goodbye. Goodbye.

You can find this article at PTA IN DER APOTHEKE 03/18 on page 118.

Catherine Croghan, Lecturer in English and native speaker

travel sicknessReisekrankheit, Reiseübelkeit
kinetosisKinetose, Reiseübelkeit
clinical trialsklinische Studien
nauseaÜbelkeit, Brechreiz
dependses kommt darauf an
aside fromabgesehen von
applied(hier) zur Anwendung gebracht
two-fold effectzweifacher Wirkung
active ingredientWirkstoff