Motion sickness is a sick feeling triggered by movement. It occurs in cars, buses, trains, planes, or boats. It can occur on amusement rides or virtual reality experiences. Seeing the movement of others or things can trigger it. Motion sickness is not life-threatening. However, it can make traveling unpleasant. Planning ahead helps prevent, avoid, or reduce the effects. Other motion sickness triggers include:
- Being in the back seat of a car unable to see the horizon
- Reading in the car
- Not getting enough air in the car
Motion sickness is common in older people, pregnant women, and children between the ages of 5 and 12. Also, it’s common in people who have migraine headaches. It may be genetic. Once the motion stops, the motion sickness stops. You’ll gradually feel better. In rare cases, motion sickness is triggered by a problem with your inner ear. This could be due to fluid buildup or an ear infection. Parkinson’s disease can also cause motion sickness. Here are some of the ways you can reduce motion sickness.
- Take control of the situation
Not being in the driver’s seat can contribute to motion sickness when you’re traveling by car. The driver of a car is less prone to motion sickness than a passenger, presumably because the driver’s brain is using its motor commands to control the car and can predict the motion. Putting yourself behind the wheel will keep the queasiness at bay. If you must ride as a passenger, try sitting in the front seat and looking at the horizon, which confers a sense of greater control than riding in the back. If you get stuck in the back seat, try conversation and distraction to alleviate the anxiety of not being in control of the situation. Open a vent or source of fresh air if possible and avoid reading.
- Curb your consumption
Watch your consumption of foods, drinks, and alcohol before and during travel. Avoid excessive alcohol, smoking, and foods or liquids that “don’t agree with you” or make you feel unusually full. Foods with strong odors, or ones that are heavy, spicy, or fat-rich may worsen symptoms of nausea or motion sickness in some people.
- Get into position
Try to choose a seat where you will experience the least motion. The middle of an airplane over the wing is the calmest area of an airplane. On a ship, those in lower-level cabins near the center of a ship generally experience less motion than passengers in higher or outer cabins. Isolate yourself from others who may be suffering from motion sickness. Hearing others talk about motion sickness or seeing others becoming ill can sometimes make you feel ill yourself.
- Equalize your sensory cues
If you’re getting seasick, lie down to help your sensory systems become congruent. On a train, sit in a front-facing seat so your eyes relay the same movement cues as the vestibules of your inner ear. Also, when traveling by car or boat, it can sometimes help to keep your gaze fixed on the horizon or on a fixed point. The more you enhance sensory congruence, the less likely you are to get queasy.