Motion Sickness

Motion sickness is a syndrome which can be seen by real or perceived movement. It can be seen with any type of transportation like travelling by cars, trains, aeroplanes, ships. Children’s playground equipment can also lead to motion sickness which starts with uneasiness, sweating, nausea and vomitings. It is said that more we travel it will be easy for us to adjust to the motion.


Brain senses movement by signals from inner ears, eyes, muscles and joints, if it receive any signal which does not match we can get motion sickness. For example if our eyes are focused on our phone which is not moving but our inner ears are experiencing motion, these two different signals to the brain can cause motion sickness. Anyone can get motion sickness, but more common in children and pregnant women.


  • Nausea
  • Vomitings
  • Lightheadedness
  • Cold extremities
  • Profuse sweating
  • Headache
  • Increase in saliva production
  • Dizziness
  • Shallow breathing
  • Feeling very tired
  • Loss of appetite

Tips to overcome motion sickness:

  • There are several medicines to prevent the symptoms, but as they cause sleepiness they are not advised if you are operating any machinery or driving. Medicine must be taken 1 hour before the travel.
  • Dermal patch which is a prescription medicine can be kept behind the ear 4 hours before needed and its dose lasts for 3 days.
  • Choosing the seat is important while travelling. If it is a plan choose a window seat over the front edge of the wing. If it is a ship you can request a cabin which is in front or middle of the ship near the water level. If it is a car it is advisable to choose front seat instead of back, but children should be in age appropriate seats. Take a forward facing seat near the window if it is train.
  • It is important to avoid looking a mobile or reading magazines while travelling as this can aggravate motion sickness.
  • Focus on a distant object.
  • Avoid having oily, greasy and acidic foods before travelling or during the travel. Don’t take a heavy meal just before your journey.
  • Take plenty of rest before travel which can help in reducing anxiety.
  • Avoid drinking alcohol and smoking.
  • Take measures to avoid dehydration as it can aggravate headache.
  • Try ginger ale or peppermint which can help to some extent as per the studies.
  • Biofeedback and cognitive therapy are possible options for the pilots and astronauts who experience motion sickness regularly or as a part of their profession.
  • Breathing exercises can also help to some extent to overcome nausea and vomitings.
  • Some studies in acupressure says pressing a specific area below the wrist can help ease nausea.



Dr. Y. Alekhya.


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