My mother used to have motion sickness. But hers was a very peculiar kind. It would only make her sick while travelling in the hills. She could spend days in a car around a city or the beach, and nothing would happen. But as soon as we would start driving up the hill, she’d start feeling sick. Too young to comprehend what was happening at that point, I later found out what motion sickness was.
If you have a friend or someone in the family with motion sickness, you’d know what a discomforting feeling it can be.
So what is motion sickness?
It isn’t an illness so to speak. It does not have any long-term problems but can be a real pain if you travel often. For those who are lucky not to have faced the problem, motion sickness can be compared to the discomfort we feel in our stomach on a bumpy flight. Some also compare it with the funny feeling in the stomach when we sit on a Ferris wheel. Also referred to as car sickness, sea sickness or air sickness, motion sickness is more likely to happen to women, older adults and children between 5 and 12.
Motion sickness causes
– A funny feeling in the tummy
But it generally goes away after the motion stops.
Why does it happen?
Doctors say it’s generally due to miscommunication between our balance-sensing system, that is, our eyes, our ears and the sensory nerves. When our balance-sensing system is not in tandem, we get motion sickness. For example, when you’re on a ship, your ears and other sensory nerves can feel the motion of waves but the eyes don’t see a change. The imbalance in our senses causes motion sickness. Or when we are flying, or on an amusement park ride, our eyes can see movement, but other senses don’t feel a change. Again, the perfect conditions for motion sickness.
Although there isn’t a known cure for it, there are preventive measures that can be taken before a trip. There are medicines that help reduce nausea and vomiting. There are patches that you put behind the ear, even bands that you can wear. If it’s a constant and unbearable problem, you’d be better off taking a pill that makes you drowsy and puts you to sleep. But before experimenting with any medicine, make sure you consult a physician.
Apart from medicines, there are a few other things that might help you feel better during the torrid time.
– Aerated Drinks (try clear fizzy drinks like Ginger Ale or Lemon Soda)
– Roll down the windows (if possible)
– Lie down if you can
– Try keeping your head still.
Beating motion sickness
It’s best to nip the problem in the bud because once the symptoms start, it becomes hard to suppress it. Here are a few steps that can be taken before it becomes bad news –
– Try keeping your head as still as possible.
– Avoid heavy, rich meals before travelling.
– Don’t drink alcohol before travelling.
– Try to avoid eating or drinking during short trips.
– No spicy food (hard for us Indians, but yeah, avoid)
– Avoid reading too much.
– Keep your eyes closed whenever you can.
– Avoid strong odours – a lot of times the strong smell of the car perfume becomes a trigger.