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Motion Sickness

As the name implies, motion sickness is a condition that commonly occurs when the body is in motion. But most people don’t realize that it actually occurs because the motion sensed by the inner ear doesn’t gel with what is detected by the eyes. This causes confusion in the brain, and motion sickness is often the result.

Motion sickness occurs in different people in different ways, but it can result from various kinds of travel. Boats, planes, trains, cars and other modes of transportation have all been known to cause motion sickness. Regardless of what causes it, motion sickness can make for an unpleasant travel experience. Common symptoms include nausea, vomiting and dizziness.

Prevention of Motion Sickness

Sometimes, people can prevent the unpleasant symptoms of motion sickness by practicing some simple strategies while traveling. For example, facing forward is often enough to keep people feeling better when traveling on a boat or train. It's also sometimes helpful to look out the window frequently to get your body adjusted to the movement. On a boat, this can be accomplished by moving to the top deck. Also, sitting in the middle in a plane or boat helps some people because this is often the area least affected by rocking or turbulence. In addition, some can get their mind off the sensations by using their other senses. Aromatherapy or sucking on hard candy, for example, is helpful for some people.


People who experience motion sickness should see a doctor. The doctor can determine if there's a problem in the inner ear and also recommend medication options. Several medications can help with motion sickness, but they do have side effects such as drowsiness, so it’s important to be aware of these issues. Also, some people report benefit from wearing a pressure bracelet that's supposed to prevent motion sickness.

SOURCES: U.S. Centers for Disease Control; KidsHealth, Nemours Foundation

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