Motion Sickness

Have you ever had motion sickness or what some people call ‘car sickness?’ When I traveled as a little girl I always seemed to get car sick. Whatever the name, it’s quite uncomfortable and causes people to be extremely sick and may progress to vomiting.

Some people may get it in an automobile, train, airplane, boat or an elevator, which I still can’t ride today. Do you know that some people even get ill while on a swing?

What causes motion sickness?

The ill feeling of motion sickness is caused by irregular motion disturbing the organs of balance. These organs are located in the inner ear. Inside the inner ear there are three semicircular canals, located in three different planes at right angles. Human beings are accustomed to motion in the horizontal plane, which stimulates certain semicircular canals. However, we are not in the habit of moving in vertical positions such as riding in an elevator, which goes up and down, or the pitching of a ship at sea.

These movements stimulate the semicircular canals in a peculiar way causing a feeling of nausea. Did you know that feelings such as anxiety and grief can also bring on a case of motion sickness? If a person is not familiar with traveling by plane or ship they may be apprehensive about their journey, which can cause symptoms of nausea.

Treatment for motion sickness

Believe it or not certain antihistamines have proven to be greatly effective in treating symptoms of motion sickness. They may be taken alone or with a mild sedative before you leave on a trip. If you have a problem with motion sickness you should always ask your doctor for advice. Drug treatment may consist of a prescription or over-the-counter medications. Dramamine (Bonine) can be bought over the counter and is effective for short trips. For longer trips you will need to talk with your doctor. You might be prescribed a drug called Transderm-Scop (Scopolamine Patch). It comes in the form of a small patch and is worn behind the ear. The medication’s effects last for up to three days. It is placed behind the ear four hours before you start your trip.


Before your trip, make sure you get the proper amount of rest. For those who drink coffee, some claim that a cup before the trip can be helpful.

If you travel by ship it is advisable to remain near the center where you will be exposed to less motion. For those traveling by air, a sedative taken 30 minutes to an hour before departure helps, and while on the plane eat small, smoothly digested meals. If traveling by car, it is wise to stop along the way and take a brief walk in the fresh air. No smoking in the car, as this can be a provoking factor. By taking a few simple steps, and with the help of the proper medication, your trip does not have to be unpleasant at all. Instead it can be a fun and enjoyable adventure.

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