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How can I Relieve Motion Sickness?

By J. Beam
Updated May 17, 2024
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Motion sickness, sometimes referred to as kinetosis, is a condition that causes dizziness, nausea, and fatigue. It occurs as a result of mixed signals between the inner ear, where the sense of balance is more or less maintained, and the brain when the body is subjected to constant movement. This condition affects many people when they fly, travel by car, or are on a boat at sea.

While people may experience motion sickness in varying degrees, people who suffer from it when they travel can become so physically debilitated they can not enjoy their trip. Unfortunately, though vomiting is a frequent reaction to the condition, it typically does nothing to relieve the nausea. To help relieve the symptoms, there are a number of things a person can try.

In some situations, focusing on something a great distance away from the mode of transportation will relieve motion sickness. In many situations, such as traveling at night or flying, travelers cannot find a horizon and is therefore ineffective. Some people experience relief by sucking on hard, sugared candies, especially peppermint, which tends to have a soothing effect on the stomach. Other people may experience relief by lowering their head towards their knees and closing their eyes. While mentally trying to soothe the sick feeling may help some people, many people can not relieve it on their own.

Pharmaceutical aids, such as Dramamine® and Bonine®, are available over the counter to sufferers. There are also medication patches available by prescription that provide longer-lasting relief than over-the-counter medications. This can be helpful for long trips, especially cruises. Many people find that medication is the only thing that works, but side effects such as drowsiness and dry mouth are common. Some research has shown that ginger root is helpful in relieving motion sickness and does not cause the aforementioned side effects.

Suffering from motion sickness can make a trip miserable. If you know you suffer from it, don’t put off a well-deserved vacation for fear of suffering. Talk to a medical professional about medications and other methods of relieving nausea. Any combination of treatments may work for you and allow you to enjoy your trip symptom free.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By anon157371 — On Mar 02, 2011

i get car sick almost every time i go in a car and yes i do own one. anyway, sea bands work very well. i wear them for long trips and my friend wears them every day. you can buy them at the dollar store or health stores (they work better). hope i could help.

By overreactor — On Jun 16, 2008

For those susceptible to motion sickness it is advised not to eat anything heavy before the trip, nor to drink alcohol. Something like toast or crackers can be helpful.

When the signs of motion sickness start, like excessive salivation, cold sweat, headache, queasy stomach, and such, deep breathing and relaxation exercise might help. What I also used to do is leaned my head back, closed my eyes, and did not move if at all possible.

I have read that the most susceptible group are children over the age of two, while those over the age of fifty are least susceptible. Women tend to be more susceptible then men, and during pregnancy motion sickness might be even more pronounced.

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