Have you ever experienced an unpleasant feeling while traveling by car, train, airplane, or boat? People might also suffer from this while on an amusement park ride, playing video games, and be looking through a microscope. This feeling of uneasiness is termed as Motion Sickness. It can also be referred to as seasickness, carsickness, and airsickness.
WHO ALL ARE AT RISK?
Although pregnant women, people prone to migraines, and children from 5 to 12 years of age are more susceptible to the sickness, almost anyone traveling is at a risk. Other factors affecting include fear of traveling, poor ventilation, and inability to look out of the window to aid orientation.
Balance-sensing system is composed of the inner ear, eyes, and sensory nerves. While in motion, brain constantly updates the information from eyes and inner ear system, which is called the Vestibular System. Motion sickness is caused by mixed signals being sent to the brain by eyes and semi-circular ducts of the inner ear. One can get motion sickness when one part of the balance-sensing system senses motion, while other parts don’t. The conflict between the two senses causes symptoms of this uneasiness.
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS
Cold sweats and dizziness follow the feeling of uneasiness. Some also exhibit pale skin and increased saliva production along with a headache, fatigue and extreme tiredness. Nausea and vomiting usually occur after these initial symptoms. Symptoms usually disappear after the motion ceases.
Treatment consists of simple changes in the environment, over-the-counter (OTC) medications, and home remedies. Some people also respond well to acupressure.
Home Remedies – Using herbs such as ginger, peppermint, and tea. Ginger supplements treat nausea.
Medications – Scopolamine patch, antiemetics (such as Zofran and Companzine), and antihistamines (such as Dramamine and Antivert).
Acupressure – Some companies market bracelets and bands which claim to prevent motion sickness using acupressure against certain pressure points. These help in blocking nausea before the brain registers it.
WAYS TO PREVENT
- Consuming light meals 24 hours before traveling
- Avoid high-fat content meals, strong odors, and spicy food
- Eat a few dry soda crackers
- Sit toward the front for a smoother ride
- Rest your head against the seat back and hold relatively still
- Turn the air vents toward your face
- Avoid smoking
- Concentrate on slow and deep breathing
- Avoid using a mobile phone and reading
- Relax and stay calm
- Keep well hydrated throughout the journey