Some people experience symptoms of nausea and vomiting while riding in car, airplane, train, boat or even amusement park rides. Motion sickness is a result of a mismatch in the information coming from the eyes vs. what the body is feeling. For example, reading while in the back seat of a car while the car is moving forward. Motion sickness is very common and affects about 10% of the population. Usually, motion sickness is just a minor nuisance, but it can cause anxiety about traveling.
How to manage motion sickness:
The main cause of motion sickness is a conflict in sensory information between your visual and vestibular system, so the best means to manage symptoms are to prevent them from occurring. Always ride where your eyes will see the same motion that your body and inner ears feel, such as the front seat of a car while looking at the distant scenery. If you are on a boat you can go up on the deck and watch the motion of the horizon. When in an airplane either sit by the window of the airplane and look outside and/or choose a seat over the wings, where the motion is the least.
- Do not read while traveling if you are subject to motion sickness, and do not sit in a seat facing backward.
- Do not watch or talk to another traveler.
- Avoid strong odors and spicy or greasy foods immediately before and during your travel
The use of medication may also help reduce symptoms of motion sickness such as:
- Scopolamine patches
- Tranquillizers or CNS suppressants- these will require a prescription from your physician
Other techniques to reduce or manage motion sickness while traveling include:
- acupuncture before travel or use of acupressure bands around the wrists
- drinking ginger ale or ginger tea to help settle your stomach
- eating light and easily digestible foods
While most causes of dizziness and motion sickness are mild and self-treatable disorders, some cases may require the attention of an ENT and/or vestibular therapist to manage. If the symptoms are strongly altering your ability to balance and be safe, it is important to schedule an appointment with your physician to address these concerns and consider follow up with a specialist.