What is motion sickness?
Motion sickness is a sensation of wooziness.
It usually occurs when you’re traveling by car, boat, plane, or train. Your body's
sensory organs send mixed messages to your brain, causing dizziness,
lightheadedness, or nausea. Some people learn early in their lives that they’re
prone to the condition.
What are the symptoms of motion sickness?
Motion sickness usually causes an upset
stomach. Other symptoms include a cold sweat and dizziness. A person with
motion sickness may become pale or complain of a headache. It’s also common to
experience the following symptoms as a result of motion sickness:
- loss of or trouble maintaining
What are the risk factors for motion sickness?
Any form of travel, on land, in the air, or
on the water, can bring on the uneasy feeling of motion sickness. Sometimes,
amusement rides and children’s playground equipment can induce motion sickness.
Children between the ages of 2 and 12 are
most likely to suffer from motion sickness. Pregnant women also have a higher
likelihood of experiencing this kind of inner ear disturbance.
What causes motion sickness?
You maintain balance with the help of signals sent by many parts of
the body — for instance, your eyes and inner ears. Other sensory receptors in your
legs and feet let your nervous system know what parts of your body are touching
Conflicting signals can cause motion
sickness. For example, when you’re on an airplane you can’t see turbulence, but
your body can feel it. The resulting confusion can cause nausea or even
How is motion sickness diagnosed?
Motion sickness resolves itself quickly and
doesn’t usually require a professional diagnosis. Most people know the feeling
when it's coming on because the illness only occurs during travel or other
How is motion sickness treated?
Several medications exist for the treatment
of motion sickness. Most only prevent the onset of symptoms. Also, many induce
sleepiness, so operating machinery or a vehicle isn’t permitted while taking
these types of medications.
Frequently prescribed motion sickness
medications include hyoscine hydrobromide, commonly known as scopolamine. An over-the-counter motion
sickness medication is dimenhydrinate, often marketed
as Dramamine or Gravol.
How is motion sickness prevented?
Most people who are susceptible to motion
sickness are aware of the fact. If you’re prone to motion sickness, the following
preventive measures may help.
Plan ahead when booking a trip. If traveling
by air, ask for a window or wing seat. On trains, boats, or buses sit toward
the front and try to avoid facing backward. On a ship, ask for a cabin at water
level and close to the front or the middle of the vessel. Open a vent for a source
of fresh air if possible, and avoid reading.
Sitting at the front of a car or bus, or
doing the driving yourself, often helps. Many people who experience motion
sickness in a vehicle find that they don't have the symptoms when they're
It’s important to get plenty of rest the
night before traveling and avoid drinking alcohol. Dehydration, headache, and
anxiety all lead to poorer outcomes if you’re prone to motion sickness.
Eat well so that your stomach is settled.
Stay away from greasy or acidic foods before and during your travels.
Have a home remedy on hand or try alternative
therapies. Many experts say peppermint can help, as well as ginger and black
horehound. Although their effectiveness hasn’t been proven by science, these
options are available.
For pilots, astronauts, or others who
experience motion sickness regularly or as part of their profession, cognitive
therapy and biofeedback are possible solutions.
Breathing exercises have also been found to help. These treatments also work
for people who feel unwell when they even just think about traveling.