Any type of transportation can cause motion sickness. It can strike suddenly, progressing from a feeling of uneasiness to a cold sweat, dizziness and then vomiting. Motion sickness usually quiets down as soon as the motion stops. The more you travel, the more easily you'll adjust to being in motion.
You may escape motion sickness by planning ahead. If you're traveling, reserve seats where motion is felt least:
- By ship, request a cabin in the front or middle of the ship near the water level.
- By plane, ask for a seat over the front edge of a wing. Once aboard, direct the air vent flow to your face.
- By train, take a seat near the front and next to a window. Face forward.
- By automobile, drive or sit in the front passenger's seat.
If you're susceptible to motion sickness:
- Focus on the horizon or on a distant, stationary object. Don't read.
- Keep your head still, while resting against a seat back.
- Don't smoke or sit near smokers.
- Avoid spicy and greasy foods and alcohol. Don't overeat.
- Take an over-the-counter antihistamine, such as meclizine (Antivert), or one containing dimenhydrinate (Dramamine), at least 30 to 60 minutes before you travel. Expect drowsiness as a side effect.
- Consider scopolamine (Transderm Scop), available in a prescription adhesive patch. Several hours before you plan to travel, apply the patch behind your ear for 72-hour protection. Talk to your doctor before using the medication if you have health problems, such as asthma, glaucoma or urine retention.
- Eat dry crackers or drink a carbonated beverage to help settle your stomach if you become ill.
Oct. 10, 2014
- Brunette GW, et al. CDC Health Information for International Travel 2014. New York, N.Y.: Oxford University Press; 2014. http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/yellowbook/2014/chapter-2-the-pre-travel-consultation/motion-sickness. Accessed Aug. 22, 2014.
- Motion sickness. The Merck Manual for Health Care Professionals. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/injuries_poisoning/motion_sickness/motion_sickness.html?qt=motion sickness&alt=sh. Accessed Aug. 22, 2014.
- Dizziness and motion sickness. American Academy of Otolaryngology — Head and Neck Surgery. http://www.entnet.org/content/dizziness-and-motion-sickness. Accessed Aug. 22, 2014.
- Priesol AJ. Motion sickness. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Aug. 22, 2014.
- Brainard A, et al. Prevention and treatment of motion sickness. American Family Physician. 2014;90:42.