What Is Motion Sickness?

motion sickness

How to Deal with Motion Sickness

Motion sickness is a sensation of wooziness. It usually occurs while traveling by car, boat, plane, or train. It is a common condition that about one-third of the population is highly susceptible to. There are various symptoms of motion sickness, all of which are unpleasant, with nausea being the most common of them. Some individuals are more susceptible to motion sickness than others. These categories of people are more likely to suffer motion sickness:

  • Migraine sufferers and others who suffer from vestibular migraines
  • Women are more likely to experience it, particularly during menstruation or pregnancy
  • Asians and Europeans are more prone to motion sickness

Traveling by boat (seasickness) is the most common cause of motion sickness, but any form of travel or motion can cause it, including cars and buses (carsickness), trains, and plains (airsickness). Motion sickness is a form of dizziness that can affect people who don’t have any other health issues. It is not a medical condition. While motion sickness is unpleasant, it is rarely a sign of a serious problem unless it is accompanied by dehydration or electrolyte abnormalities.

Causes of Motion Sickness

While the exact cause of motion sickness is unknown, most doctors agree that it is caused by sensory feedback conflicts in the brain. The inner ear (sensing motion, acceleration, and gravity), the eyes (vision), and the deeper tissues of the body (proprioceptors), such as muscles all contribute to the brain’s perception of motion. When the body moves involuntarily, such as when riding in a car, these various types of sensory input to the brain can clash. The inner ear’s sensory apparatus appears to be the most important in the production of motion sickness.

Other actions that can trigger motion sickness include:

  • Reading while in motion
  • Video games and movies
  • Amusement park rides and virtual reality experiences

Symptoms of Motion Sickness

Motion sickness occurs as a result of accidental movements. It includes seasickness, carsickness, and airsickness. It is most commonly caused by complex types of movement, especially slow movement or movement in two different directions such as up and down or back and forth. Nausea is the most common symptom of motion sickness. Vomiting and dizziness are also possible side effects.

Other common symptoms of motion sickness:

  • Increased salivation, nausea, and vomiting
  • Sweating
  • Irritability
  • Headache
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Fatigue
  • Pale skin
  • Rapid breathing or gulping for air
  • A general sense of unease and apprehension about one’s health (malaise)

Also, in the same individual on different days, the severity of motion sickness and how long it lasts varies. Symptoms usually end when the motion ends, although some people can have symptoms for up to a few days after the motion sickness episode. When you get off a boat or ship, for example, you can feel as though you are traveling even if you are not.

Risk Factors of Motion Sickness

These individuals are at high risk of getting motion sickness:

  • Women are more prone to motion sickness than men, and pregnant women are particularly vulnerable
  • Belonging to a family with a history of motion sickness
  • Individuals who have Parkinson’s disease
  • The most vulnerable are children. Motion sickness is most common in children under the age of 12; babies and children under the age of two are usually not affected.
  • Migraine sufferers and those with sensory input disorders (such as labyrinthitis) are at risk of motion sickness.

How to Diagnose Motion Sickness

The majority of motion sickness cases are minor and treatable on their own. Extreme cases, as well as those that worsen with time, require the attention and care of a physician who specializes in ea, balance (equilibrium), and nervous system diseases.
A doctor will inquire about signs and find out what normally causes the problem (riding in a boat, flying, etc.). In most cases, laboratory tests are not used to diagnose motion sickness.

How to Treat Motion Sickness

Glucosamine supplementTo avoid motion sickness or treat symptoms, you have a few options. The following are some of the medications used in treating motion sickness.


Antihistamines which are commonly used to treat allergies can also help to prevent motion sickness and alleviate symptoms. Only drowsy antihistamines will work; formulas that are not drowsy won’t work. Some examples of antihistamine medications that treat motion sickness are:

  • Cyclizine HCI (Bonine for kids): This is effective when you take it at least 30 minutes before travel. It is not suitable for children under the age of six.
  • Meclizine (Antivert, Bonine, D-Vert, and Dramamine II): Take it an hour before travel. Drowsiness and dry mouth are likely side effects, and it is not recommended for children under the age of 12.
  • Diphenhydramine (Benadryl)
  • Chlorpheniramine (Aller-Chlor)

These drugs can cause some side effects like confusion and blurred vision, dry mouth, urinary retention in older people, drowsiness, among others.


Scopolamine patches are used to treat nausea and vomiting. At least four hours before flying, you place the patch behind your ear. You may then uninstall the patch after three days and replace it with a new one. This drug is recommended for only adults. Please note that it can trigger dry mouth.

Complications of Motion Sickness

Motion sickness does not usually result in severe complications. Some individuals, on rare occasions, are unable to avoid vomiting. Dehydration and low blood pressure may be results of excessive vomiting (hypotension).

When to See a Doctor

If you have any of the following symptoms, you should contact your healthcare provider:

  • Symptoms of dehydration
  • Nausea or vomiting that lasts for a long time
  • Experiencing motion sickness symptoms when you are not participating in a moving operation

Prevention of Motion Sickness

Get some Fresh Air

Allow direct air vents to blow towards you and roll down windows in cars.

Maintain a Distant Gaze

Put down your phone, tablet, or book. Instead, fix your gaze on a distant object or the horizon.

Lie Down

Try lying down and closing your eyes, as it is quite helpful.

Chew Gum

Chewing is an easy way to relieve normal and moderate car sickness. Chewing gum has an uncanny ability to alleviate car sickness. You may also snack on sweets or anything else.

Eat Right

mealAvoid heavy meals, as well as greasy, salty, or acidic foods, as they can cause stomach discomfort. You should aslo avoid smoling or comnsuming alcoholic beverages. When flying, you should always face forward.

Take Herbs

Inhale the relaxing scents of mint, lavender, or ginger. Suck on peppermint or ginger-flavored hard candies.

Minimize Disruptive Motion

  • During a boat ride, take a seat on the upper deck in the middle of the boat.
  • Select a window seat on the bus.
  • Sit in the front passenger seat of the car.
  • Don’t watch or talk to another traveler who is also having motion sickness.
  • Book a cabin near the front or middle of the ship one a cruise ship. If possible, choose one that is on a lower level and closer to the water.
  • Sit in the wing area of the plane.
  • Choose a forward-facing window seat on the train.

Now that you Know…

Almost everybody experiences motion sickness at some stage in their lives. You can vomit due to nausea and queasiness. It is not always possible to avoid the motion that makes you sick, particularly when traveling. If you are prone to motion sickness, speak with your doctor about how to avoid getting sick and what to do if you eventually fall sick.