What is Motion sickness?
Motion sickness (also known a travel sickness) is characterized by an uncomfortable, queasy sensation experienced when traveling by car, train, airplane, and boat, or by using a playground swing or riding some amusement park rides.
This sensation can cause nausea, cold sweats, vomiting and dizziness. Motion sickness is a very common problem that can affect anyone but tends to affect young children in particular. Most symptoms are mild but in some cases, severe complications such as frequent vomiting leading dehydration and low blood pressure can develop.
Diagnosing Motion sickness
Symptoms and signs
The common symptoms and signs associated with motion sickness include:
- Cold sweats or sweating
- Pallor (loss of color)
- General feeling of discomfort
What causes Motion sickness?
Motion sickness occurs when the central nervous system receives conflicting messages from the inner ear, eyes, and other areas of the body such as the skin, muscles and joints. The inner ear monitors and controls balance and motion while the eyes observe the directions and where the body is in space.
The skin and muscle and joint sensory receptors are able to sense which parts of the body are moving and where they are in relation to each other. For example, if you traveling in a car and reading a book, your eyes are fixed on the book and not sensing any movement. However, when the car accelerates or stops, your ear detects the movement. This confuses your central nervous system and causes the motion sickness.
Help for Motion Sickness
Most of the symptoms associated with motion sickness are mild and easily treatable. However, if motion sickness worsens or symptoms are very severe, consult a doctor. There are certain antihistamine medications that can be very effective in reducing and preventing motion sickness. Antihistamine medications such as Bonine, Antivert, or Dramamine are available over the counter and may be used for mild symptoms.
Ginger capsules or sipping on ginger ale also helps to alleviate the nausea and settle the stomach. For more severe symptoms of motion sickness, prescription medication such as TransdermScop, a medicated skin patch can help to prevent motion sickness. Keep in mind that these medications may cause unwanted side effects such as drowsiness.
Herbal and homeopathic remedies are an excellent natural alternative to help relieve all forms of motion sickness. Use herbs such as Zingiber officinalis (Ginger) and Mentha piperita (Mint) to provide digestive comfort. Homeopathic ingredients such as Kalium phosphate, Cocculus and Pulsatilla vulgaris act as a restorative and nerve tonic and helps to promote comfort while traveling.
Tips to prevent motion sickness
There are several things that can be done to prevent motion sickness and these include:
- Seat yourself in an area where you will encounter the least amount of movement – sit over the wings of an airplane or near the middle of a boat
- Look straight ahead of you to keep your eye and body sensations in sync with each other
- Eat light meals such as dry toast or crackers before or during travel (helps settle the stomach)
- Avoid eating large meals or greasy and carbonated foods before traveling
- Avoid drinking alcoholic beverages and smoking before or while traveling
- Sip beverages slowly while traveling
- Apply cold compresses to the eyes and neck
- Get as much fresh air as possible by keeping the car window open or going on the deck of a ship
- Avoid sitting facing opposite the direction of movement
- Get enough rest before going on your trip
- Avoid reading while in motion