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Motion Sickness

Some people find traveling to be uncomfortable and experience nausea, vomiting, and headache while riding a plane, car or even on a ride found in an amusement park. This phenomenon is called motion sickness. Motion sickness is a common complaint that happens when exposed to different types of motion. 

What is motion sickness?

Motion sickness is often associated with multi-directional motion and acceleration, specifically when the eyes are looking at one thing while the body experiences a different sensation. The feeling is often temporary, but for many people it continues for a longer duration, resulting in extreme discomfort and anxiety.

Motion sickness is common among frequent travelers. In some cases, travelers are incapacitated by it, and a few even suffer symptoms for several days after the trip. 

A related syndrome, Mal De Debarquement (MDD), is the feeling that you are still moving.  This is typically limited to a couple of hours, but in rare cases can last for weeks, months, or even years. 

Symptoms

The most common symptom of motion sickness is nausea. Additional symptoms can include belching, headache, sweating, hyperventilation, and a sense of unease. Hyperventilation can lead to a sense of impending doom and serious complications like difficulty in breathing, low blood pressure, and even passing out. 

Although nausea is usually the first symptom, this can be followed by a series of unsettling events like stomach aches, generally feeling unwell, irritability, and drowsiness. 

Pathogenesis 

The clear reasons behind motion sickness are not clear, but it is thought to be linked with the imbalance between the signals your brain is getting from your eyes and your systems of balance.

Linear or horizontal motions tend to produce less severe symptoms of motion sickness than rotary or vertical motions. 

Treatment

Strategies to minimize symptoms of motion sickness 

Preventing motion sickness is far better than treating it. That is why patients with frequent complaints of motion sickness should first learn to identify scenarios that can lead to motion sickness for them. This will help identify behavioral strategies that will minimize symptoms. Ways to avoid getting motion sickness include:

  • Avoiding noxious kinds of motion
  • Avoiding traveling to hilly areas and terrains with turns and bumpy roads
  • Looking out the window when riding in a vehicle
  • Being the driver rather than the passenger
  • Choosing seats where motion is decreased – for example, over the wing of an aircraft

Medication 

Prophylactic treatment may help to avoid the symptoms of motion sickness. Medications work better in combination with the above-mentioned behavioral strategies. Scopolamine is the first line of drugs given in cases of motion sickness. 

First-generation antihistamines are used to treat motion sickness and are given to patients who can better tolerate the sedative effects produced by this class of medication. 

Hard ginger candies may also be useful for addressing the effects of motion sickness. 

Contact us

In case of urgent medical care assistance, AfterOurs Urgent Care offers immediate telemedicine services, where medical providers are available to offer assistance. Anyone who experiences signs and symptoms requiring urgent medical attention can simply book their appointment with AfterOurs Urgent Care to directly talk to an expert. If your medical issue is not appropriate for telemedicine, we will let you know and refer you to an in-person facility.

When to visit a doctor:

If you feel sick while traveling, then you should seek medical assistance.

Treatment for motion sickness is available at AfterOurs Urgent Care.