Oh that queasy feeling, when the world just won’t stop swaying, bobbing, or just plain moving. No matter what the mode of transport, the result can be motion sickness. Some people get sick from riding in a car, boat, plane, or train, while others don’t
Normally, the eyes, inner ears, skin, and muscles send sensory information to the brain that allows it to determine the body’s position in space and to track whether and in what direction you are moving. Motion sickness is believed to occur when this balancing system gets overwhelmed by contradictory messages sent from the eyes and inner ears. The resulting symptoms of motion sickness can include sweating, light-headedness, hyperventilation, nausea, and vomiting.
With a few simple steps, you may be able to prevent motion sickness from developing in the first place or help quell your queasiness once it’s begun.
Tips for coping with motion sickness
- Pick the right seat. If possible, sit in an area with the smoothest ride, where motion is least likely to be felt in the first place.
- Avoid standing. The last thing you need when you’re trying to keep your stomach settled is to be tossed around during the trip.
- Face forward. Choose a seat that faces in the direction you are traveling, so that the forward motion your body feels will match what you see.
- Minimize head movements. Try to avoid sudden movements of your head, which can aggravate motion sickness.
- Look off into the distance. Focus on a steady point away from the rocky boat, plane, or car. If there isn’t a tree or barn or other specific object in the distance to focus on, stare out at the horizon, where the sky meets the earth or water.
- Leave your reading at home. If you read in a car, your eyes stay fixed on a stationery object, yet your body feels the motion of the car. Instead, focus on the road in front of you or at a distant object so all your senses can confirm that you are on the move.
- Volunteer to drive. Drivers are so busy watching the road that they’re less apt to get carsick.
- Eat a little or don’t eat at all. Sometimes eating helps, sometimes it doesn’t. Experiment to see what works for you. About an hour before you leave, eat some plain crackers or a piece of bread or toast. Keep your stomach calm and empty, in case you should start to get nauseated.
- Avoid heavy foods and odors. The smell of spicy or greasy foods and strong odors can prompt motion sickness before or during a trip.
- Stay calm, cool, and collected. Sometimes, just the thought of getting sick can make you sick. Try to stay as calm and relaxed as possible. Take a few deep breaths, and tell yourself that you will not get sick.
- Try over-the-counter remedies. Antihistamines should be taken at least an hour before the trip for maximum effectiveness. Always check the label for warnings and possible side effects, such as drowsiness or blurred vision.
Whether it’s from a plane, train, or automobile, motion sickness can be crippling to those affected by it. Follow the tips outlined in this article to help get rid of that queasy feeling before it begins.