Can You Cure Motion Sickness?

Reviewed on 9/10/2021

Relieve the symptoms of motion sickness with remedies such as lying down, drinking plenty of water, changing seats, getting some fresh air, taking medication, or trying some ginger or acupressure bands.
Relieve the symptoms of motion sickness with remedies such as lying down, drinking plenty of water, changing seats, getting some fresh air, taking medication, or trying some ginger or acupressure bands.

Motion sickness is a type of dizziness that occurs in response to real or perceived motion, and can cause gastrointestinal and nervous system symptoms.

Motion sickness cannot technically be cured, but it can often be prevented and symptoms may be relieved. Symptoms usually go away when the motion stops. 

Preventing motion sickness includes environmental modification such as:

  • Looking at the horizon or a distant, stationary object
  • Avoiding reading or looking at a screen while in a moving environment
  • Getting plenty of air (roll down the windows, turn on the air conditioner, direct a vent toward you)
  • Eating small portions of plain food and avoiding heavy meals, or greasy, spicy, or acidic foods before or during travel
  • Drinking plenty of water
  • Avoiding alcohol
  • Selecting seats where motion is the least
    • In a car, the front seat is recommended and driving is better than being a passenger
    • In a boat, the lower deck and midship cabins are recommended
    • In a plane, a seat over the front edge of the wing is recommended
    • In a train or bus, forward facing seats are recommended

Once symptoms of motion sickness begin, treatments include: 

  • Environmental modification
    • Lying down when you feel sick
    • Drinking plenty of water
  • Changing seats if you are not already in an optimal seat to reduce motion sickness
  • Getting plenty of air 
  • Complementary and alternative treatments to treat and prevent motion sickness
    • Ginger
      • Sucking on hard ginger candies 
      • 1 to 2 mg of ginger taken orally
    • Acupressure bands applied to both wrists (may be worn in anticipation of symptoms but also after symptoms have started)
  • Medications may be used to both treat and prevent motion sickness

What Are Symptoms of Motion Sickness?

Symptoms of motion sickness include: 

  • Nausea
  • A feeling of warmth
  • Feeling unwell (malaise)
  • Vomiting (may be severe)
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Belching
  • Increased salivation
  • Sweating
  • Irritability 
  • Pale skin (pallor)
  • Hyperventilating
    • Shortness of breath
    • Numbness and tingling
    • Feelings of impending doom

What Causes Motion Sickness?

  • Motion sickness is caused by an imbalance between what you see and what you feel.
  • For example, a car moves forward while your body remains still. This imbalance causes the symptoms of motion sickness. 

How Is Motion Sickness Diagnosed?

  • Motion sickness is diagnosed based on the patient’s history of typical symptoms experienced in response to externally imposed motion or another stimulus. In patients who have previous bouts of motion sickness, no further testing is needed.
  • In patients with no prior motion sickness who suddenly become prone to motion sickness evaluation for migraine or another neurologic problem may be indicated. 

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Reviewed on 9/10/2021
References
https://www.uptodate.com/contents/motion-sickness?search=motion%20sickness&source=search_result&selectedTitle=2~77&usage_type=default&display_rank=2

https://familydoctor.org/condition/motion-sickness/