Motion Sickness: Causes, Symptoms, Prevention & Treatment


Motion sickness is a problem which almost all of us have faced at some point in our lives. It is actually that type of weird sick feeling that we get when we are on the road, on a bumpy boat or on a rough aeroplane travel. Motion sickness is also commonly known as Travelling sickness or kinetosis. It is actually a situation in which the visually perceived movement cannot synchronize with the vestibular system’s sense of movement. There may be various causes of motion sickness and it is named as Carsickness, sea sickness, air sickness or simulation sickness depending on the major cause of motion sickness.

There is a higher probability of Motion sickness among small children between the age of 5-12 years but it has less chance of occurring in children less than two years of age.


Signs and Symptoms of Motion sickness

The most commonly known symptoms of motions sickness are nausea, fatigue and dizziness. Similarly, there can also be sweating and vomiting. Fatigue and tiredness may occur in a condition called Sopite syndrome which is also associated with Motion sickness. The word Nausea comes from the Greek language in which it means seasickness. If the motion sickness is not treated on time, then the person may vomit. Even after vomiting, the person will not feel better. The person may keep on vomiting until the cause of motion sickness is treated. However, the signs and symptoms of motion sickness may disappear once the motion is stopped.

Causes of Motion sickness

The simple theory behind the cause of motion sickness is that it occurs when one part of the balance-sensing system of the body including the inner ear, eyes, and sensory nerves gets a feeling that the body is moving but the other parts of the body don’t experience the same feeling. For example, when you look out of the bus, your eyes may feel like the body is moving but the other part of the body doesn’t get the same feeling. Similarly, when you are in the ship’s cabin, you may hear the sound of the waves because of which the ears may feel the movement of a ship but your eyes do not see any movement. In such cases, the person may get motion sickness. It can also occur on a train, car, Bus, amusement parks/ rides, ships, boats etc. There can also be sickness because of playing video games, looking through a microscope or using a flight simulator. In all these cases too, the eyes may sense movement while the body rejects that.


Treatment of Motion sickness

There are various medicines which can be taken for prevention of or treat nausea and vomiting caused by motions sickness. Scopolamine is one such medium of treatment which is available as a patch and it is to be kept behind ears. Antiemetics can be helpful in reducing and treatment of nausea. Some of the Antiemetics available are prochlorperazine (Compazine) and ondansetron (Zofran). Some antihistamines including meclizine (Antivert, Bonine) and dimenhydrinate (Dramamine) are commonly used. It is important to remember that these medicines can make you feel drowsy.

Most of these medicines are prescription drugs so you need a medical prescription to get those medicines. You have to remember to take the medicine before you go on a travel. When you have motion sickness, you can also rely on the below-mentioned measures to get relief from the symptoms without taking medications.

  1. Drink clear and fizzy drinks like ginger ale.
  2. Try getting in the fresh air.
  3. Lie down.
  4. Keep your head stable.
  5. Eat some dry type soda crackers.

Prevention of Motion sickness

As in any other condition, prevention stands out to be the better medium rather than treatment because when the symptoms of motions sickness are noticed, it is hard to stop them immediately. When the person has certain symptoms then the motion has to stop for the symptoms to vanish. There are a few steps and measures which you can take for prevention of motion sickness and they are mentioned below.

  1. Try keeping your head still and don’t move it as far as possible.
  2. Avoid drinking alcohol or taking a huge meal before you travel.
  3. Avoid eating and drinking during short trips.
  4. Don’t eat spicy food and also food having a strong smell.
  5. Always sit in the front seat if you are travelling by car.
  6. Don’t watch Videos and don’t read anything in a car.
  7. If you are travelling on a plane then ask for a seat near the wings.
  8. Eat small quantity of food before and during a flight so that the food is easy to digest.
  9. If you are travelling on by ship or boat then it would be better to take the cabin in the middle area and near the waterline.
  10. Keep getting out in the fresh air.
  11. Look for a fixed part of the horizon.

Apart from these methods, people also usually depend on other ways including acupressure wristbands which can be worn or also the powdered ginger capsules which has to be taken before travel. There is no sure and certain guarantee that these methods will work but it is better to have a try. It may work on you.

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