Dealing with Motion Sickness

Dealing with Motion Sickness

motion-sicknessHave you ever felt suddenly sick during travel? I mean, headache, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, and sudden excessive sweating, even with the air conditioner on full blast? Then you have experienced motion sickness

In my younger years, I dreaded travelling as I almost always ended up sick by the time we arrived our destination. Mine was so bad that I would throw-up every day at the Bus Stop after school, after inhaling all the fumes on the road. I still have a hatred for Bedford buses, our school buses back then. 

Motion sickness is as a result of an imbalance in movement perception by parts of the balance-sensing system comprising the middle ear, nerves and eyes. In some cases, the inner ear senses movement but the eyes do not move as in the event of car sickness and the event of video games, the eyes see motion, but the body does not sense it. It is otherwise referred to as car-sickness, air-sickness and sea-sickness; flight simulators, amusement park rides and microscopes also cause motion sickness in addition to transport vehicles.

Thankfully, there is a treatment for motion disease, and these include Scopolamine (a patch placed behind the ear), antiemetics (to prevent nausea and vomiting) and antihistamines (these may cause drowsiness). As always, please consult your doctor before opting for any treatment.  Below are some tips that may be helpful in avoiding motion sickness on your next trip:

  • Don’t eat or drink during short trips.
  • Avoid spicy foods and strong odours (air fresheners, perfumes).
  • Avoid alcohol or heavy meals before travelling.
  • Restrict movement to the barest minimum.
  • Do not read or watch television.
  • When travelling in large buses, choose a seat that is far away from the tires to reduce movement (especially if travelling on bumpy Nigerian roads).
  • In aeroplanes, choose a seat near the wings; eat easy-to-digest meals in small portions during long flights to reduce the risk of nausea and vomiting.
  • When travelling by sea, choose a cabin near the waterline and the middle of the ship; sit in the midst of the boat; get as much fresh air as possible and look at a fixed point on the horizon.

In case you forget these and the sweating starts, then:

  • Get some fresh air if you can; ditch the air conditioner for some natural breeze, careful, though, if you’re in a dangerous area.
  • Close your eyes, keep your head still or lie down if you can.
  • Don’t read any print.
  • Nibble on chips or dry crackers.
  • Sip on clear fizzy drinks.

Wishing you a sickness-free journey on your next trip. Please share your experiences and advice in the comment section below.


Chioma Chukwu
Chioma Chukwu is an MSc Environmental Health graduate of UWE, Bristol. Constantly trying to learn about her world, you’ll often catch her reading a book in her spare time or having an interesting conversation. Fried plantain and eggs, and new episodes of The Big Bang Theory are the surest ways to her heart. She blogs at:

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