Motion sickness is a common problem that affects travellers by automobile, train, air, and particularly sea. It is common in children (3-12 years) and women are more likely to be affected than men, with the tendency increasing during pregnancy and menstruation. The risk of developing motion sickness is greatly increased by environmental factors (eg. poor ventilation, odours, fumes, smoke and carbon monoxide). Symptoms include dizziness, nausea, vomiting, pale skin and cold sweats and are usually mild-to-moderate but in severe cases, they can be incapacitating.37b, 59
Precautions and prevention37b, 59 - 61 Travellers who are prone to motion sickness can minimise symptoms by:
Choosing seats with the smoothest ride (front seat of a car, the seats over the wings in an airplane and the middle of a boat).
Focusing on distant objects rather than close objects or trying to read.
Minimising head movement, and if necessary lying down.
Ensure good ventilation and remove noxious stimuli.
Engage in distracting activity. Be in control of the vehicle, perform mental activity.
Avoid large meals and avoid alcohol.
There are several medications which might help to counteract motion sickness. Oral medication has to be taken before travel and possibly on a regular basis throughout the trip. Once vomiting has started, it is unlikely to be effective. (talk to your doctor or pharmacist)
(Please read the Disclaimer before using the ABC Guide to Travel Health).