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What is motion sickness? Back
05/20/2006

What is motion sickness?

Motion sickness is a very common disturbance of the inner ear that is caused by repeated motion such as from the swell of the sea, the movement of a car, the motion of a plane in turbulent air, etc. Motion sickness affects the sense of balance and equilibrium and, hence, the sense of spatial orientation in the inner ear, called the labyrinth.


What are the symptoms of motion sickness?

The symptoms of motion sickness include nausea, vomiting, and dizziness (vertigo). Other common signs are sweating and a general feeling of discomfort and not feeling well (malaise).
What measures can be taken to prevent or minimize motion sickness?

If you know you are prone to motion sickness or if you are suffering from it, here are a few recommendations.

1. Always ride where your eyes will see the same motion that your body and inner ears feel.
  - In a car, sit in the front seat and look at the distant scenery.
  - On a boat, go up on the deck and watch the motion of the horizon.
  - In an airplane, sit by the window and look outside. Also, in a plane, choose a seat over the wings where the motion is minimized.

2. Do not read while traveling if you are subject to motion sickness, and do not sit in a seat facing backward.

3. Do not watch or talk to another traveler who is having motion sickness.

4. Avoid strong odors and spicy or greasy foods immediately before and during your travel.

5. Ginger and peppermint (also available as flavored sweets) are natural preventatives against motion sickness.

6. Take one of the varieties of motion sickness medicines before your travel begins, as recommended by your physician.

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