Motion Sickness

What is Motion Sickness?

Motion sickness is a very common issue where you become dizzy or nauseous from riding in a moving vehicle. About a third of people suffer from motion sickness, which occurs when the visual signals that your eyes send to your brain don’t correspond to the signals sent by your inner ear, which helps to manage your balance.

Some people get motion sickness only from one type of vehicle, such as a car or a plane, or from amusement park rides. It most commonly affects younger people, but anyone can get motion sickness. If you can’t see out the window of the vehicle or see the horizon, the lack of visual stimuli can cause the problem.

For some people, knowing that you may have motion sickness can lead to anxiety, which means you’re more likely to have symptoms.

What are the Symptoms of Motion Sickness?

If you have motion sickness, you’re likely to feel dizzy and nauseous, and you may even vomit. Sometimes you’ll also get a headache and start to sweat or feel overheated.

Some people with motion sickness can become anxious and develop shortness of breath or difficulty breathing.

How is Motion Sickness Treated?

Getting out of or stopping the vehicle will often end the feeling of motion sickness. Sitting where you can see outside the vehicle or where the ride is smoothest, such as over the wings of a large plane, can help you to feel more comfortable. Proper ventilation or cool air can also make you feel better.

People who are susceptible to motion sickness may take an over-the-counter or prescription medication before travel. You shouldn’t take motion sickness medication if you will be operating a vehicle, as it can make you feel drowsy.

Some people also benefit from taking herbal supplements with ginger or peppermint, which can calm the stomach, or by using breathing techniques to overcome anxiety.

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Last Reviewed:
October 10, 2016
Last Updated:
August 31, 2017