Published on February 18, 2022
Motion sickness is often a spoiler for long drives or holiday trips. People suffering from motion sickness experience nausea, vomiting and other symptoms during travel by road, air or sea. Though medicines are available to prevent it, they may cause side effects like drowsiness, and therefore some people may prefer to avoid them.
Motion sickness affects individuals who are sensitive to movement. Under normal circumstances, signals that indicate movement reach the brain via nerves from the eyes, inner ear and the joints. A mismatch between the signals reaching the brain from different sites results in a conflict between the expected and actual movements, resulting in motion sickness.
Several approaches have been suggested to reduce the symptoms of motion sickness. Some of these are listed below:
The meal just before the trip should be light and preferably low in fat and spices. Ginger may help to prevent vomiting.
People who suffer from motion sickness should preferably choose a seat in the front of the vehicle that is forward facing. They should look towards the horizon during the trip. If this is not possible, the eyes can be shut and the head movements minimized.
Drivers rarely suffer from motion sickness since they anticipate the movements of the vehicle and adopt their position, for example, tilt their head, according to the direction of the movement. Thus, given a choice, it may be a good idea to take to the wheel for long trips.
Distract the mind
The mind should be distracted with pleasant music and pleasant perfumes in the vehicle. Chewing a gum, especially one which is flavored with ginger, peppermint or vitamin C could help. Deep breathing may help. Reading and smoking during the trip should be avoided.
Several products are available over the counter to prevent motion sickness. These include herbal patches and wrist bands that apply pressure at a particular point. It is advised to check with a physician before using these devices.
Bertolini G, Straumann D. Moving in a Moving World: A Review on Vestibular Motion Sickness. Front Neurol. 2016;7:14. Published 2016 Feb 15. doi:10.3389/fneur.2016.00014
Takov V, Tadi P. Motion Sickness. [Updated 2021 Sep 29]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2022 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK539706/ Available under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
Kaufeld M, De Coninck K, Schmidt J, Hecht H. Chewing gum reduces visually induced motion sickness [published online ahead of print, 2022 Jan 7]. Exp Brain Res. 2022;1-13. doi:10.1007/s00221-021-06303-5. Available under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
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