Sunday, December 24, 2006

Motion Sickness

What is motion sickness?
If you've ever been sick to your stomach on a rocking boat or a bumpy airplane ride, you know the discomfort of motion sickness. Although it doesn't cause long-term problems, motion sickness can make life miserable, especially for people who travel a lot.

People can feel sick from the motion in cars, airplanes, trains, amusement park rides, or on boats or ships. Motion sickness is sometimes called airsickness or seasickness. Video games, flight simulators, and looking through a microscope also can cause motion sickness; in these cases, the eyes see motion, but the body does not sense it.

Children from 5 to 12 years old, women, and the elderly seem to be more susceptible to motion sickness, while it is rare in children younger than age 2.

What are the symptoms?
Common symptoms of motion sickness are a general sense of not feeling well (malaise), nausea, vomiting, headache, and sweating.

What causes motion sickness?
Motion sickness occurs when the inner ear, the eyes, and other areas of the body that detect motion send unexpected or conflicting messages to the brain. One part of your balance-sensing system (your inner ear, vision, and sensory nerves that help you keep your balance) may indicate that your body is moving, while the other parts do not sense motion. For example, if you are in the cabin of a moving ship, your inner ear may sense the motion of big waves, but your eyes don't see any movement. This leads to a conflict between the senses and results in motion sickness.

What is the treatment for motion sickness?
It's best to try to prevent motion sickness, because symptoms are hard to stop once they start. Once motion sickness has developed, relief comes only after the motion has stopped. If you can't stop the motion, you may be able to reduce the feeling of queasiness by sitting or lying down in an area that appears to move the least. In an airplane, sit near the wings; on a boat or ship, stay on the deck, looking at the horizon, or try to sit or lie down in a cabin near the center of the ship.

You also can take prescription and nonprescription medication to prevent or reduce symptoms of nausea and vomiting. Most medications work best if you take them before you travel. The medications work in different ways. Some are sedatives that minimize the effect of motion, while others reduce nausea and vomiting.

Many people try other methods of preventing motion sickness, such as taking powdered ginger capsules or wearing acupressure wristbands. It is safe to try these methods, and they might offer some relief; however, there is little evidence that they prevent motion sickness.

Motion Sickness – Home Treatment

The following tips may help you avoid motion sickness when you travel:
-When you fly, request a seat near the wings. When you travel on a ship, try to book a cabin near the middle of the vessel and near the waterline.

-Move your head as little as possible. Try to keep your head still by resting it on a headrest. Head movement can increase motion sickness.
-When you're on a boat, try to get fresh air. When you're on the deck, look at a fixed point on the horizon.

-When you travel by car, avoid reading or watching TV or videos.

-Avoid drinking alcohol or eating a heavy meal before travel.

-Do not eat or drink during short trips.

-During an extended flight, eat small meals of foods that are easy to digest, and drink small amounts of fluids either before or during a flight to help reduce nausea and vomiting.

-Try to avoid strong odors and spicy foods.

If you do have symptoms of motion sickness, the following may help:
• Eat a few dry soda crackers.
• Sip on clear, carbonated drinks such as ginger ale.
• Get some fresh air.
• Lie down or at least keep your head still.

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