Motion Sickness Risk Factors, Prevention, Treatment And Complications


Motion sickness affects those who get queasy in automobiles, on ships, or in the air. Cold sweats, nausea, and vomiting are symptoms of the illness. Motion sickness can affect everyone, however, it is more common among women and children. While traveling, you may take precautions to lower your chance of being ill. The scopolamine patch and other medications can stop nausea.

Motion sickness can happen when your brain has trouble interpreting messages from your body, ears, and eyes. You could feel nauseous, clammy, or sick to your stomach when there is a lot of movement, whether it be in a car, airplane, boat or even on an amusement park ride. Some individuals vomit. Motion sickness includes becoming seasick, airsick, or automobile sick.


Your inner ears, muscles, joints, and other motion-sensing organs of your body send information to your brain. Your brain is unable to determine whether you are moving or stationary when these sections produce conflicting signals. You feel nauseous because of your brain's perplexed response.

For instance, when driving, you:

  • Eyes see movement.
  • Inner ears detect motion.
  • Your body's muscles and joints detect that you are resting.
  • The brain detects a discrepancy between these messages.

Motion sickness can be brought on by several things, including:

  • Rides in amusement parks and virtual reality adventures.
  • Moving while reading.
  • Traveling via bus, rail, boat or airplane.
  • Movies and video games.

Risk Factors

One in three persons reportedly experiences motion sickness at some point. Most in danger are women and children between the ages of two and twelve. Nonetheless, anybody might be impacted by the illness.

Several elements raise your risk of experiencing motion sickness:

  • History of motion sickness in the family.
  • Birth control pills.
  • Internal ear issues.
  • The menstrual cycle.
  • Migraines.
  • Parkinson's condition.
  • Pregnancy.


You might not expect to have motion sickness. You could be OK one second and then suddenly start exhibiting some of these signs:

  • Frosty sweats.
  • Dizziness.
  • Fatigue.
  • Headache.
  • Irritability.
  • Difficulty focusing.
  • Vomiting, nausea, and increased salivation.
  • Fair skin.
  • Inhaling quickly or gasping for air.


These behaviors can reduce your risk of becoming ill or, in the event that they do, can lessen symptoms:

Herbs: Inhale the calming aromas of mint, ginger, or lavender. Chew on hard ginger or peppermint candies.

Eat healthy foods and drink lots of water. Before a trip, choose low-fat, bland, and starchy meals. Prevent stomach distress by avoiding big meals and oily, spicy, or acidic foods. Avoid smoking and drinking alcohol.

Clean air: Blow air vents in your direction. and open the windows in vehicles.

Remote gaze: Lay the phone, iPad, or book down. Instead, fix your gaze on the horizon or a distant object.

Stress points: Wear bracelets with acupressure.

When moving, you should constantly face ahead. what you do

In order to reduce disturbing movements, sitting can also make a difference:

  • Boat: Take a seat in the center of the top deck.
  • Choose a window seat on the bus.
  • Take a seat in the car's front passenger seat.
  • Choose a stateroom in the front or center of the ship while traveling by cruise ship. Choose one that is closer to the ocean and on a lower level if you can.
  • A plane: Take a seat in the wing.
  • Train: Choose a seat by a window that faces forward.
  • Reduce motion by sitting in the center of a boat or the front seat of a car.
  • The horizon or another immovable point just in front of you
  • If you can, try to get some fresh air, like by opening your car's window.
  • Close your eyes, take a few quiet, deep breaths and concentrate on your breathing.
  • Talking, listening to music, or singing songs can be used to divert youngsters.
  • Long commutes should be broken up with stops for water, fresh air, and walks
  • Try ginger, which is available in pill, scone, and tea forms.


You have a few choices for treating or avoiding motion sickness. Treatments for motion sickness include:

Antihistamines: Often prescribed to treat allergies, antihistamines can lessen the symptoms of motion sickness and can help prevent it. The only antihistamines that work are those that make you sleepy. Non-drowsy formulae are useless.

Scopolamine patches (Transderm Scop®) or tablets can be used to treat nausea and vomiting. Apply the patch behind your ear at least four hours before your travel. You take off the patch and put on a fresh one after three days. The only people who can take this drug are adults, and it might induce dry mouth.

Some individuals experience comfort from these:

Fresh ginger. This root, long used as a folk medicine to treat nausea, has some scientific support for its efficacy. Yet it could also thin the blood. Before using it, first, consult your doctor.

Mint. It is believed that eating peppermint may relax the body. The perfume could at the very least make you feel calm.

Both acupressure and acupuncture. Some claim that pressing a specific area just below the wrist makes them feel less queasy.


You can discuss them with your doctor if motion sickness continues to bother you:

Dimenhydrinate (Dramamine). This over-the-counter antihistamine helps with motion nausea in addition to relieving allergies. The first dose has to be consumed around an hour before departure. 

Scopolamine (Maldemar). This drug requires a prescription. A patch is worn behind the ear by you. It is applied four hours before use. 3 days pass between doses.

Additional medications consist of:

Cyclizine (Marezine, Marzine, Emoquil)

Promethazine (Phenadoz, Phenergan, Promethegan) and Meclizine (Antivert, Bonine). These all cause adverse effects, such as tiredness and dry mouth.

Complications of Motion Sickness

Serious issues seldom arise from motion sickness. Occasionally, some people have persistent nausea. Dehydration and low blood pressure can result from frequent vomiting (hypotension).


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Page last reviewed: Mar 29, 2023

Next review due: Mar 29, 2025

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