About Motion Sickness
Just about anyone can get motion sickness—even astronauts get it. Children ages 2 to 12 very easily get motion sickness, while infants and toddlers seem relatively immune. But for everybody else, the sense of motion, whether from riding in a car, boat, airplane, (or space shuttle) brings on those queasy feelings. Motion sickness comes on quickly, but quiets down when the motion stops. Still, if you’re prone to it, you can be in for an unpleasant ride.
People tend to get motion sickness on a moving boat, train, plane, or car, but it’s also possible to get it when watching a moving scene on the big screen. Some people can get nauseous even thinking about take-off on a plane or boat.
Motion sickness happens when the inner ear, the eyes, and the deeper tissues of the body’s surface, called proprioceptors (pronounced proh-pree-uh-sep-ters), send conflicting signals to the brain. The signals don’t get scrambled, though, when we walk, or move our bodies on our own.
But when we’re moving in a car, boat, or plane, the signals received by the eyes or the proprioceptors don’t match with those transmitted by the inner ear. And our sense of balance is thrown off.
Motion sickness is awful to go through, though for as horrible as it may feel, it’s usually a temporary, minor problem. However, if you travel frequently, it can be a big problem.
The most common symptoms of motion sickness include:
There are medications and some preventive measures you can take to treat motion sickness. Some even believe that continually exposing yourself to motions that bring on motion sickness will help you get over it. But if you’re like most people, that idea may not have a lot of appeal. If you do choose to take a medication, remember to take it before you travel, because once motion sickness starts, it’s hard to bring under control.
Medication and non-medication treatments for motion sickness include:
- Antiemetics—such as Bonine® once-a-day travel tablet—are over-the-counter medications that help relieve nausea and vomiting associated with motion sickness.
- A patch for motion sickness is also available. It contains another type of active ingredient.
- Acupressure bracelets, some of which contain magnets, may help in the same way as acupuncture—putting pressure on certain points of the body.
- Ginger, a traditional remedy for nausea, may help with motion sickness. However, some people find it has no benefit.
- Peppermint is another herb that may help.