Motion sickness

October 05, 2008

For this topic I didn’t have to go out searching for examples when I am here myself.

Motion sickness was perhaps congenital for me. In my childhood, I would be nauseated in a 15 minute road journey and would create a racket for my parents. Some cousins accused my ‘psychology’ and told me that if I think “I won’t vomit” I won’t. I had to grow up and travel a lot to become more resistant to journeys but still my acidic stomach would occasionally give me away. After so many years now I know what keeps me away from nausea and vomiting (motion sickness).

  • A good night’s sleep before any journey.
  • No overeating the day before.
  • No empty stomach in the morning. Take a light breakfast and my usual tablet for motion sickness.
  • Cool air in the vehicle.
  • Lots of candies.

I have always been on a low morale because of my motion sickness. When everybody is enjoying the journey I would be sticking to the window seat, controlling my breath and with my hands crossed. When I got married I had to go through difficult times while making those obligatory long journeys. I would break down as nausea is more traumatic than vomiting itself. I would eat pieces of ginger, smell lemons, skip meals, hoard plastic bags and what not!

Motion Sickness (Kinetosis)

Motion sickness refers to the dizziness, fatigue, nausea and vomiting one may have during one’s travel by air, water or land. The sense of movement is received by the brain through the signals sent by the inner ears, eyes, muscles and joints. When there is a mismatch in the signals received by the brain you get sick. Your eyes or other parts of the body may not find yourself moving but your head and the inner ears feel it, then you are in trouble.

Where you sit can make a difference. The front seat of a car, forward cars of a train, upper deck on a boat or wing seats in a plane may give you a smoother ride. Looking out into the distance – instead of trying to read or look at something in the vehicle – can also help.

  • Road journeys- Avoid heavy meal and drinking before travel.
  • Be prepared to travel. No need of any anxiety or fear. Traveling is an exciting experience.
  • Sitting in the front seat helps people with motion sickness as the front seat moves less than the back one. If it is a train, then get into the forward cars. Sit in the direction of the travel in a window seat.
  • If you feel that your head movements make you feel dizzy or sick, rest your head on the head rest. Keep it still and avoid looking at the scenery outside or fast moving objects around. Forget videos until the journey is over. No reading too.
  • Avoid coffee and strong spicy foods before any journey.
  • Get good ventilation. Switch on your A/C.
  • Consult your doctor for anti-vomiting or anti-nausea medications.
  • Air journeys- Find a seat near the wings. Direct the air vent flow to your face to help ventilation.
  • Do not take salty foods or dairy products prior to travel. Eat foods high in carbohydrates and preferably low in calories.
  • Boat journeys-occupying a seat in the front or middle of the ship or on the upper deck can make a difference.
  • If you are seated below the deck keep their eyes closed and concentrate on something nice and interesting. Engaging in a conversation can help.
  • Passengers on the deck should fix their eyes on the horizon or visible land ahead.

You can keep motion sickness away by putting a candy in your mouth or by biting at a dry soda crackers. Ginger or peppermint works a great deal. Some prefer carrying some ginger ale along which can serve thirst and motion sickness.

- Aparna K V

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