WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:
- Motion sickness, also known as travel sickness, is a condition that affects your senses and vestibular system. The senses include the eyes, ears, and other body parts that receive and respond to stimuli, such as skin, muscles, and joints. The vestibular system helps keep you in balance, whether you are moving or not moving. It is made up of the inner ear, nerves, and brain. With motion sickness, opposing messages that are coming from the different senses and vestibular system do not agree with each other. When this happens, the brain cannot piece together the messages to make a total picture. This confuses your brain, which tells you that something is wrong by causing motion sickness.
- Motion sickness is more common among women, especially during pregnancy and monthly periods. Signs and symptoms may include nausea (upset stomach), vomiting (throwing up), or dizziness. Diagnosing motion sickness may require a complete health history, a physical exam, and tests. Treatment may include anti-motion sickness medicines and medicines that relieve motion sickness symptoms. Relaxing and dealing with stress may also help to decrease motion sickness. With treatment, such as medicine, your motion sickness may be prevented and your quality of life improved.
Take your medicine as directed.
Call your primary healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.
Ask for information about where and when to go for follow-up visits:
For continuing care, treatments, or home services, ask for more information.
Preventing an attack of motion sickness:
- Learn how to drive and be the driver. This may help you have the feeling that you are in control. Knowing when the car is going to turn or stop may also help you to decrease or control your motion sickness.
- Do not eat big meals or drink alcohol or caffeine before and during travel.
- Do not sit in a seat that faces backward. Choose the area with the least amount of motion and the smoothest ride. Sit in the front seat of a car or near the wing of an airplane. Staying in the first cars of a train or in the middle part of a boat may also help to decrease motion sickness.
- Keep your head still and rest it against a head rest. Do not read or play video games while traveling, especially if you have had motion sickness before.
- Relax and try to keep your eyes above the horizon, which is where the earth meets the sky. Do not look at moving things, such as waves or fixed objects, such as trees.
- Stay away from cigarette or tobacco smoke. Avoid sitting where people are smoking or where unpleasant odors are present.
- Take anti-motion sickness medicine at least one hour before travel. Ask your caregiver for more information about anti-motion sickness medicines.
Since it is hard to avoid stress, learn ways to control it. Deep breathing, meditation, and listening to music may help you cope with stressful events. A form of behavior therapy may be used to help decrease or prevent your symptoms. You may also talk to someone about things that upset you. Talk to your caregiver about other ways to manage stress.
Where can I find support and more information?
Having motion sickness may be hard for you and your family. Contact the following for more information:
- American Academy of Family Physicians
11400 Tomahawk Creek Parkway
Leawood , KS 66211-2680
Phone: 1- 913 - 906-6000
Phone: 1- 800 - 274-2237
Web Address: http://www.aafp.org
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.