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You are here : home > Travel > Related Articles For Travel > Motion Sickness

Motion Sickness

Does motion sickness interfere with your passion for travelling? Read on about ways by which you can cope with it.

To the casual observer, motion sickness may seem like a minor problem. However, for the people affected by it and their families, the simple act of travelling a short distance can be an inconvenient—even crippling—experience. With adequate safeguards however, it is possible to prevent the symptoms of motion sickness.

What is motion sickness?

Motion sickness, or kinotesis, is a medical condition in which the sufferer's inner ear is affected by exposure to the stimulus of motion. The affected person may display one or more of the following symptoms while travelling in a moving vehicle:

  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Vomiting
Motion sickness is quite common. Around one-third of the world's population experiences these symptoms during routine travelling, and many more are affected in more severe circumstances.

How is motion sickness caused?

Motion sickness is usually caused by the difference between the perceptions of movement experienced by a person through the different senses. Usually, the brain experiences the sense of motion through the different signals coming from sense organs of the nervous system such as the inner ear, the eyes, and deeper tissues called proprioceptors.

When a person walks or runs, the brain easily coordinates the different signals that signify movement. However, in case of unintentional movement, such as driving in a vehicle, the brain is unable to effectively coordinate conflicting inputs from the different senses. Motion sickness is believed to be the result of this conflict.

Research has proven that the presence of the inner ear is important for motion sickness to occur. Blind people also experience motion sickness, which suggests that the visual sense is not essential for motion sickness to occur. Motion sickness is more common in complex forms of movement involving different directions of motion, such as vertical and horizontal.

Actual motion is not necessary for motion sickness to occur. Simulated movement, for example a film clip depicting movement, can also cause motion sickness. The eyes of a person watching a film perceive movement and send corresponding signals to the brain. However, since the person is stationary, the inner ear does not sense movement. This leads to the conflict between the signals received by the brain and causes motion sickness.

How can you cope with motion sickness?

Here are some ways to prevent motion sickness:

  • Determine the circumstances in which your motion sickness occurs and try to avoid them. For example, some people experience motion sickness only in certain modes of transport, such as a boat. Others are affected while travelling on winding roads.

  • As far as possible, break up your journey to reduce the duration of time you spend in the vehicle at a stretch.

  • Do not read in a moving vehicle.

  • Always try to balance the sense of motion experienced by your body with the visual sense of movement. Opt for a window seat if you can, and focus on the scenery closer to the horizon. Move to the deck while travelling by boat.

  • While travelling by car or bus, opt for the front seats. In a plane, try to book seats near the wing, as this part normally experiences the least movement.

  • Try to sit facing the direction the vehicle is moving in, rather than sideways or with your back towards it.

  • Eat moderately during your journey. Avoid eating rich, spicy, or greasy food during, or just before, your travel. According to a study, foods with high-protein content are helpful in reducing travel sickness.

  • Drink an adequate amount of liquids.

  • Some people believe smelling a fresh lemon, or something equally invigorating, helps to control nausea.

  • Consult your doctor about medicines that you can take before travelling to prevent motion sickness.

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Panama.5 years ago
I always carry lemon, and ginger while traveling. this comes as a good aid to counter motion sickness.
Vartika.5 years ago
Me and my kids always suffer from motion sickness so we avoid traveling. But when we have to travel, we make sure that we carry a piece of ginger with us as it provides a great relief,
Sabina.5 years ago
Great tips for coping with motion sickness. I was always plagued by motion sickness and didn't know the ways to cope with it. Thanks for your posts.
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