How to Prevent Motion Sickness

motion sickness

Don’t let motion sickness ruin your travel plans with these tips.

What causes motion sickness? Motion sickness occurs when there is a feeling of movement that triggers an unpleasant response. It can occur while riding in a car, bus, boat, plane or during a virtual reality experience. It can happen when you are moving or when you see another person moving, and it can cause some adverse symptoms that make you feel sick.

Click here for tips on how to reduce the sickness symptoms.

Motion Sickness Basics

Although motion sickness is unpleasant, it is not a life-threatening event. You can try to reduce or avoid the effects of motion sickness by planning ahead before you travel. The first thing to be aware of are the things that can trigger an event, such as:

  • Riding in a car, bus, plane or boat.
  • Virtual reality experiences.
  • Amusement park rides.
  • Using a swing, rocking chair, or hammock swing.
  • Riding in a stuffy vehicle with a limited amount of airflow.
  • Riding in a vehicle where you are unable to see the horizon.

Motion sickness affects particular segments of the population, and can include:

  • The elderly.
  • Children between the ages of 5 and 12.
  • Pregnant women.
  • People who experience migraine headaches.
  • Parkinson’s Disease.
  • People with inner ear infections or fluid build-up.

The symptoms can occur at any time and without warning but tend to cease once the motion is stopped. Some of the symptoms may include:

  • Dizziness.
  • A cold sweat.
  • Nausea, vomiting.
  • Pale skin.
  • Headache.
  • Irritability.

What Causes Motion Sickness?

Motion sickness is caused by an imbalance with what you are feeling and what you are seeing. It can happen when a car you are in is moving forward, but you are sitting still. Or, in a car wash when the machine starts moving backward, you feel like you are moving forward, even though you and your car are sitting still.

It is the same thing when you are on a boat or ship, but it is referred to as seasickness. Seasickness can be caused by the motion of the boat, or ship, rocking back and forth on the waves of the sea. This movement can cause severe nausea and vomiting in some people.

What causes motion sickness?  Well, there are several answers to this question:

  • It is caused by a disturbance of the inner ear.
  • It is a disturbance between balance and equilibrium in the nervous system.
  • It is caused by conflicting signals in the inner ear, eyes and sensory receptors.

There is a discrepancy between the signals that the brain receives through sensory input, and what the person feels. The brain senses motion via different pathways of the nervous system. These pathways include the eyes, inner ear, nervous system and tissues on the body’s surface. When voluntary movement occurs, such as walking, the brain automatically coordinates all the pathways. When conflicting messages are sent to the brain involving movement, the brain cannot coordinate the data and the person can experience motion sickness.

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Motion and Sea Sickness Prevention

There are many treatments that can ease or prevent motion and sea sickness, including:

  • Taking motion or sea sickness medication one to two hours before traveling.
  • Take in plenty of air by using an air conditioner, or rolling down a window in a vehicle.
  • Choose a front seat in a car.
  • Choose the front or midpoint on a boat, near the water level.
  • Face forward or sit near a window on a train.
  • Take a seat near the wing of a plane.
  • Avoid triggers.
  • Lie down if you feel sick.
  • When riding in a vehicle, look at the horizon or a distant object.
  • Drink lots of water, and avoid heavy meals and alcohol when traveling.

You may want to discuss treatment options with your doctor before planning a big trip. Be prepared ahead of time, so that you can enjoy your travels.

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