Boats, carnival rides, planes, and cars — motion sickness can happen in a lot of places and can stop you from enjoying some of life’s thrills and pleasures. Unfortunately, many people who suffer from motion sickness simply avoid the things that make them sick even though they want nothing more than to share experiences with their friends. If you’re one of those people that wishes you could hop on a roller coaster or jump aboard a cruise, there may be some things that can prevent the nausea and dizziness you dread.
First let’s take a look at some important facts about motion sickness.
What Causes Motion Sickness?
Motion sickness can happen when parts of your vestibular system, which controls balance, become confused by mixed information or signals. For instance, when you get on a boat, your brain takes in what you’re seeing through your eyes and combines that with sensory information from your body, and communicates that information back to your your inner ear, eyes, and sensory receptors. If things don’t match up, then dizziness and nausea can occur.
Who Gets Motion Sickness?
Anyone can have motion sickness but it’s more common in children from 5 to 12 years old, women, and older adults. Luckily, children younger than 2 typically don’t experience it. There’s not enough evidence to show what makes some people more susceptible to motion sickness than others, but doctors believe genetics may be a large factor.
How Long Does Motions Sickness Last?
Motion sickness can last until the motion has stopped, the head is still, or until your brain has become accustomed to the motion. If you are experience excessive vomiting or if vomiting persists after the motion has stopped, you should go to the ER to avoid dehydration.
How to Prevent Motion Sickness
What You Should Avoid
- Avoid situations where the air is stuffy or filled with fumes. For instance, if you’re on a beach with a lot of boat exhaust, steer clear of the area, especially if you’re going to try boating or a water sport. Exhaust fumes can stir up nausea even before you get on a boat.
- Food can make you feel worse, so don’t eat a big meal before you board a boat, ride a car, or whatever activity makes you sick.
What You May Want to Try
- If you’re in a car, roll down the windows for some fresh air. It’s very common to get dizzy while reading in a car, so try focusing your attention outside of the vehicle to break the cycle of motion sickness.
- If you’re prone to getting sick on boats or cars, try looking out at the horizon to stabilize the information that’s being processed through your eyesight.
- Stay well-hydrated and get good rest before you engage in activities that trigger your sickness.
- Talk to your doctor about antihistamines that may prevent motion sickness by blocking the chemical signals that cause the symptoms. Cinnarizine is reported to be the most effective antihistamine with the fewest side effects. Dimenhydrinate, Meclizine, and Cyclizine are long-acting piperazine antihistamines and generally cause less drowsiness than other antihistamines. Promethazine is used to treat nausea or vomiting, motion sickness, and allergic reactions, but causes more sedation than other antihistamines.
- Try motion sickness wrist bands. Although there is no scientific evidence that these elastic bands work to stop you from feeling sick, acupuncturists and acupressure practitioners believe stimulation of this point may stop nausea and vomiting.
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