Motion sickness is characterized as a condition in which an individual experiences an unpleasant feeling of illness when subjected to motion or the perception of motion. Motion sickness occurs most commonly in females and children. Individuals who suffer from migraines are also at greater risk for motion sickness.
Motion sickness is a common response to abnormal motion or confusing sensory information, which may result in an individual experiencing nausea, vomiting, and dizziness. While anyone can experience motion sickness, some individuals are more susceptible to it than others. Many individuals experience motion sickness when traveling by boat, while others may experience it traveling via car, train, or airplane. Some individuals have also reported episodes of motion sickness while viewing 3-dimensional movies, playing video games, or riding on amusement park rides.
Signs and Symptoms
While motion sickness symptoms can vary from person to person, the most common signs and symptoms include:
Causes and Common Triggers
General feeling of illness
While the exact cause is not fully understood, the symptoms of motion sickness occur when the brain receives conflicting signals from the body, the eyes, and the inner ear. The sensory apparatus in the inner ear appears to be most critical in the occurrence of motion sickness. Motion sickness can be triggered by several modes of transportation or movement via video games or flight simulators.
Testing and Diagnosis
While there is no diagnostic test for motion sickness, a diagnosis is typically made by the onset of classic symptoms that appear during travel or motion.
Prevention and Management
If you are prone to motion sickness, the best step to preventing it is to take 1 of the medications approved to prevent motion sickness before symptoms occur. You can talk to your doctor or pharmacist about the available options.
You can reduce or prevent motion sickness by:
Treatment and Care
Focusing on the horizon or a stationary object in the distance
Not reading while in motion
Avoiding rapid changes in position
Keeping the head still while in motion
Avoiding sitting in the rear seat or facing backward in a vehicle
Getting fresh air when possible
The best treatment for motion sickness is to prevent it. Antihistamines are the most frequently used medications for motion sickness. It is advised that they be taken at least 30 to 60 minutes before travel. Your doctor may also prescribe a topical patch that is applied behind the ear. Your doctor will determine the best treatment option for you.
Homeopathic and Alternative Remedies
Various clinical studies suggest that the use of ginger or ginger supplements can effectively relieve nausea associated with motion sickness. Some patients may find relief by:
• Sipping peppermint tea
• Wearing acupressure wristbands
If you are prone to motion sickness, taking an OTC antihistamine marketed specifically for preventing motion sickness at least 30 to 60 minutes before you travel can prevent motion sickness. It is important to discuss the use of these OTC products with a doctor or pharmacist before using them to prevent potential drug interactions or contraindications. A pharmacist can also advise you of the proper use and the adverse effects associated with these products.
Resources for Patients
Resources for Pharmacists