Motion sickness :

What is motion sickness?

If you've ever been sick to your stomach on a rocking boat or a bumpy airplane ride, you know the discomfort of motion sickness. Although it doesn't cause long-term problems, motion sickness can make life miserable, especially for people who travel a lot.

People can feel sick from the motion in cars, airplanes, trains, amusement park rides, or on boats or ships. Motion sickness is sometimes called airsickness or seasickness. Video games, flight simulators, and looking through a microscope also can cause motion sickness. In these cases, the eyes see motion, but the body does not sense it.

Children from 5 to 12 years old, women, and the elderly seem to be more susceptible to motion sickness, while it is rare in children younger than age 2.

What are the symptoms?

Common symptoms of motion sickness are a general sense of not feeling well (malaise), nausea, vomiting, headache, and sweating.

Motion sickness may cause:

  • A general feeling of being unwell (malaise).
  • Nausea or vomiting, or both.
  • Headache.
  • Cold sweating, which means you sweat even though you're not overheated.
  • A pale appearance.

Symptoms usually go away soon after the motion stops. Sometimes it can take a few days for symptoms to go away. You may become used to motion during extended trips, such as on a cruise. If that happens, your symptoms may subside. But when you are back on land, the lack of motion can cause symptoms to return for a short time.

Usually, symptoms go away within 3 days of the end of a trip. If they do not, see your doctor. You may have another condition that causes nausea and vomiting, such as stomach flu or an inner ear problem.

What causes motion sickness?

Motion sickness occurs when the inner ear, the eyes, and other areas of the body that detect motion send unexpected or conflicting messages to the brain. One part of your balance-sensing system (your inner ear, vision, and sensory nerves that help you keep your balance) may sense that your body is moving, while the other parts do not sense motion. For example, if you are in the cabin of a moving ship, your inner ear may sense the motion of big waves, but your eyes don't see any movement. This leads to a conflict between the senses and results in motion sickness.

Home Treatment

The following tips may help you avoid motion sickness when you travel:

  • When you fly, request a seat near the wings. When you travel on a ship, try to book a cabin near the middle of the vessel and near the waterline.
  • Move your head as little as possible. Try to keep your head still by resting it on a headrest. Head movement can increase motion sickness.
  • When you're on a boat, try to get fresh air. When you're on the deck, look at a fixed point on the horizon.
  • When you travel by car, avoid reading or watching TV or videos.
  • Avoid drinking alcohol or eating a heavy meal before travel.
  • Do not eat or drink during short trips.
  • During an extended flight, eat small meals of foods that are easy to digest before and during a flight to help reduce nausea and vomiting.
  • Try to avoid strong odors and spicy foods.

If you do have symptoms of motion sickness, the following may help:

  • Eat a few dry soda crackers.
  • Sip on clear, carbonated drinks such as ginger ale.
  • Get some fresh air.
  • Lie down or at least keep your head still.