Motion Sickness

Motion Sickness

Do you feel sick on long car journeys?

Car sickness affects 33% of people, causing them to feel uncomfortable and physically ill on long car journeys.

What is motion sickness? 

Motion sickness is a common condition that occurs in some people who travel by car, train, aeroplane or boat. Motion sickness progresses from a feeling of uneasiness to sweating and/or dizziness. This is usually quickly followed by nausea and/or vomiting. 

Symptoms of motion sickness

Symptoms can range from mild to serious, and can include:

  • Dizziness or vertigo
  • Falling or a feeling as if you are going to fall
  • Light headedness, fainting, or a floating sensation
  • Blurred vision
  • Confusion or disorientation
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Changes in blood pressure and heart rate
  • Fear
  • Anxiety
  • Panic

What can I do to prevent or minimise motion sickness?

If you know you have motion sickness or might be prone to it, consider this advice:

  • On a ship: When making your reservations, choose a cabin in the middle of the ship and near the waterline. When on board, go up on deck and focus on the horizon
  • In an aeroplane: Request a window seat and look out the window. A seat over the front edge of the wing is the most preferable spot (the degree of motion is the lowest here). Direct the air vent to blow cool air on your face
  • On a train: Always face forward and sit near a window
  • In a car: Sit in the front seat; if you are the passenger, look at the scenery in the distance. For some people, driving the vehicle (rather than being a passenger) is an instant remedy

Other tips to prevent or minimise motion sickness

  • Do not read in a moving vehicle. If you are prone to motion sickness, reading is likely to make it worse
  • Get plenty of rest. Get a good night's sleep the evening before you travel. Being overtired can make you more susceptible to motion sickness
  • Avoid greasy or acidic foods. Avoid heavy, greasy, and acidic foods in the hours before you travel. These types of foods – such as coffee, orange juice/grapefruit juice, bacon, sausage, pancakes – are slow to digest, and in the case of coffee, can speed up dehydration. Better choices include bread, cereals, grains, milk, water, apple juice, apples, or bananas. Do not skip eating but do not overeat
  • Drink small sips of water
  • Do not drink large amounts of alcohol the evening before you travel. Alcohol speeds up dehydration and generally lowers your body's resistance to motion sickness if you are prone to it
  • Stand if you feel queasy. Stand up, if you can, and look out over the horizon. Despite what you might think, sitting or lying down actually may make you feel worse
  • Don't smoke and avoid others who smoke
  • Eat dry crackers. Dry crackers may help settle a queasy stomach
  • Use the seat headrest. Lean your head against the back of the seat or headrest when travelling in vehicles with seats to minimize head movements
  • Avoid others who have become nauseous with motion sickness. Seeing and smelling others who have motion sickness may cause you to become sick

How is motion sickness treated?

Motion sickness can be treated with over-the-counter or prescription products, depending on how severe your symptoms are. Most medications to help with motion sickness will make you drowsy, so you will not be able to drive.

Ask your local CarePlus Pharmacy for help and advice.