Motion Sickness

Paul Lacombe

We have all experienced brief moments of motion sickness. It occurs when your sense of motion or balance doesn’t match with what your brain thinks. Your brain deals with sensory inputs from your sight, inner ear, muscle, and joints to figure out how you are moving. When any of these inputs gives a conflicting message, it will trigger symptoms of motion sickness. Some people are more sensitive to motion sickness than others.

Symptoms include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Cold sweats

A common example is travel sickness, being still in a moving vehicle. Your eyes don’t see movement, your body is still, but your inner ear feels that you are in motion. One way to treat this is to align your senses to match reality. Look into the distance as you travel, let your eyes tell your brain that you are on the move. On a ship, walking in the direction of the ship’s sailing direction and looking at a shoreline will help. If you are sensitive to motion sickness, do not put your head down to use your phone while riding a car, or taking off in a plane. Car motion sickness is often alleviated if you sit in the front seat, or drive. Sitting near the back of a theatre and avoiding 3D movies is a solution for moviegoers.

Some people feel better if they suck on peppermint candy, chew mint gum, or ginger root. Another treatment is to use acupressure. There is a pressure point on the inside of your wrist, three fingers above the palm edge, and between the large tendons. Gentle finger pressure applied for a few minutes on both wrists may help. If you don’t want to use your fingers or want your hands free, nausea wrist bands are available at most pharmacies.

Effective medications are also available. These can be used hours before a trip to prevent motion sickness or can be taken when you need to treat symptoms. Your PharmaChoice pharmacists can explain the different products available to suit your family travel needs. 

Medications to treat motion sickness can be sedating, so if you are driving or need to stay alert, ask your pharmacist which products are safe. If motion sickness prevents you from doing daily activities or has an unexplained cause, seek professional medical advice.

Paul Lacombe
Pharmacie Alfred PharmaChoix
Alfred, ON