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Motion Sickness

Many people experience motion sickness while travelling either by road, rail, air or ship. They experience nausea, vomiting, sweating and headaches. It generally happens when different sense organs receive different external signals. For example, if you are reading a book on a journey, your eyes make you feel that things are still, while your inner ear and joint receptors are telling you that things are moving. This mismatch in sense perceptions is more common among children, and reduces as you grow older. So if you are about to embark upon a journey and are aware of your motion sickness, you can try taking some of the following steps to prevent, or ameliorate it.

Take a suitable seat

  • If you are an adult travelling by car, it would be better for you to sit in the front seat, or even drive. Motion sickness does not affect a car’s driver. But children would be advised to sit in the back-seat as it is much safer.
  • If you are taking a flight, request the airline staff to give you a seat by the window near the wing, where movement is felt the least.
  • While travelling by ship or a boat, try to stay close to the centre of the vessel where the effect of any swell is least.
  • Avoid sitting in rear-facing seats while travelling by train. Sitting in front-facing seats can prevent nausea.

Other precautions

  • Anyone with motion sickness can tell you that fresh air can bring a lot of relief. Open the car window to let the fresh air in; if you are in a boat, go up on the deck instead of staying in the stuffy atmosphere of your cabin; on a plane, use your personal overhead vent.
  • Gazing straight ahead when in a car, or at the horizon while at sea can also help.
  • To limit visual stimulation, keep your head still while travelling.
  • Avoid reading or indulging in any activity that requires you to focus on nearby objects.
  • If your child is prone to motion sickness, don’t talk about it, or you will end up increasing his/her anxiety and nausea.
  • Don’t stuff yourself with food before embarking on a journey. If you already have motion sickness, a full stomach can cause nausea.
  • Fried, fatty and salty foods can make nausea worse, so avoid them on a journey.
  • The fragrance of essential oils can ease sensations of nausea while travelling. So just pour a few drops of lavender essential oil on your handkerchief and hold it to your nose whenever you feel an attack of nausea coming up.
  • Chewing on fresh ginger or having a ginger tea two hours before travel can prevent a bout of motion sickness.

By the age of 60 years, around 60% of men and 40% of women start snoring