Motion Sickness

  • Medical Author:
    Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD

    Dr. Charles "Pat" Davis, MD, PhD, is a board certified Emergency Medicine doctor who currently practices as a consultant and staff member for hospitals. He has a PhD in Microbiology (UT at Austin), and the MD (Univ. Texas Medical Branch, Galveston). He is a Clinical Professor (retired) in the Division of Emergency Medicine, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, and has been the Chief of Emergency Medicine at UT Medical Branch and at UTHSCSA with over 250 publications.

  • Medical Editor: Steven Doerr, MD
    Steven Doerr, MD

    Steven Doerr, MD

    Steven Doerr, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Emergency Medicine Physician. Dr. Doerr received his undergraduate degree in Spanish from the University of Colorado at Boulder. He graduated with his Medical Degree from the University Of Colorado Health Sciences Center in Denver, Colorado in 1998 and completed his residency training in Emergency Medicine from Denver Health Medical Center in Denver, Colorado in 2002, where he also served as Chief Resident.

Balance Disorders: Vertigo, Migraines, Motion Sickness and More

10 Tips to Prevent Motion Sickness

Motion sickness is sometimes referred to as sea sickness or car sickness. The symptoms of motion sickness are nausea, vomiting, dizziness, sweating, and a sense of feeling unwell.

The following tips can help you prevent or lessen the severity of motion sickness:

  1. Watch your consumption of foods, drinks, and alcohol before and during travel. Avoid foods with strong odors to help prevent nausea.

Quick GuideBalance Disorders: Vertigo, Motion Sickness, Labyrinthitis, and More

Balance Disorders: Vertigo, Motion Sickness, Labyrinthitis, and More

What is motion sickness?

Motion sickness is the feeling you get when the motion you sense with your inner ear is different from the motion you visualize. It is a common condition that occurs in some people who travel by car, train, airplane or boat. Many people suffer from this condition if they ride on a roller coaster or other similar amusement park rides. Motion sickness progresses from a feeling of uneasiness to sweating and/or dizziness. This is usually quickly followed by nausea and/or vomiting.

Who is at risk for motion sickness?

Although pregnant women and children are more susceptible to motion sickness, almost anyone that is traveling is at risk for motion sickness. For those people who travel on boats, seasickness can be considered a form of motion sickness. Other risk factors include the person's fear or anxiety about traveling, the mode of travel, poor ventilation in the traveling vehicle, and the inability to see out of a window to aid orientation.

What are causes of motion sickness?

Motion sickness is caused by the mixed signals sent to the brain by the eyes and the inner ear (semicircular canals). If you cannot see the motion your body's feeling, or conversely, if you cannot feel the motion your eyes see, then it is likely that the brain will get mixed signals and the person will develop some aspect or symptom of motion sickness.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/7/2015

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