Motion Sickness

If you suffer from motion sickness, long trips in the car can be something you dread.  Read on to find out what causes motion sickness and what you can do to minimise its impact.

What is Motion Sickness

Motion, or car sickness is normally a feeling of nausea and dizziness that many people experience.  In particular children between four and twelve are especially prone to this.  Some grow out of it, however many people who suffer will continue to experience motion sickness in many forms into adulthood.

What Causes Motion Sickness?

The inner ear controls our sense of balance.  The inner ear contains fluid which moves to allow the brain to work out where the head and body are. The brain uses the inner ear, the eyes and muscles to pinpoint the position of the body at all times.
If you are a passenger in a car, reading a map while being driven along a winding road. Your inner ear tells your brain  that your body is moving but, according to your eyes which are focused on the stationary map, your body is still.   This confuses the brain and activates the area of the brain that control the symptoms of motion sickness.

Reducing Motion Sickness

Reducing Motion Sickness:

  • Watch the scenery going by, so that your eyes confirm the sensation of motion picked up by your inner ear. Dont fix on one point, just scan generally.
  • If possible, drive the vehicle. Passengers in moving cars are more likely to experience motion sickness than drivers.
  • If you cant drive, try to sit in the front passenger seat
  • Keep your head still. Moving your head around will ‘swirl' the fluid in your canals and add to the sensory confusion
  • Some people find that closing their eyes is the best way to eliminate sensory confusion
  • Make sure you have plenty of fresh air. Fumes or smoke can exacerbate symptoms.
  • On brief journeys, try not to eat or drink anything
  • On long journeys, eat and drink sparingly and often
  • Anxiety worsens symptoms, so try relaxation techniques

There are a number of natural and pharmaceutical remedies on the market that are said to help with motion sickness.  Visit your doctor or pharmacist for professional advice on these.