Motion sickness is a problem that most people usually face when moving. This sickness occurs as a result of motion hence its name.
Motion sickness occurs as a result of the feelings one gets when the movement you perceive or sense with your inner ear is different from the one in which you can visualise. This means that motion sickness arises as a result of conflict among your senses.
For example, you may be on a ride in the park, and it is spinning and going all Topsy turvy on you, spinning you all around and upside down. When this occurs, your eyes will feel one thing while your muscles are feeling another different thing altogether; likewise, your inner ear has a different feeling.
All these feelings can’t be processed by the brain all at once simply because they are all too much for it at that time hence you end up feeling sick and dizzy while on the ride.
This kind of sickness is a general sickness that is felt mostly by people who are travelling long distances either by air, road, water or train. Asides these means of transport, some also develop this sickness while on a roller coaster ride or any other similar ride that is available in the amusement park.
Motion sickness usually starts with having a feeling of uneasiness, and it gradually progresses to sweating and dizziness. Afterwards, in quick succession, it is followed by both nausea and vomiting and also might lead to a temporary breakout of fever.
Let’s talk about the role of the senses in play when you are in motion. There are two essential parts of the body that are involved when you are in motion, and they include your inner ears and your brain.
The role of your inner ears in motion
The ears mainly the inner ears are used to help us balance when we are against gravity, standing or in motion. This means they are in control of your sense of balance and without them, you will always fall.
They are an intricate part of a system of a network which is known as the Vestibular system. Generally, the vestibular system includes five primary components, and they are the three pairs of semicircular canals and two different sacs; one named saccule and the other named utricle.
The work of these five components is to gather every information about what is going on around you and then send them to your brain for interpretation. Within the semicircular canals is a special fluid which always turns whenever you attempt to move your head in any direction.
The saccule and the utricle, however, are very sensitive gravity. If there is any imbalance against gravity, they quickly gather the information and send it to your brain. They also inform the brain about the particular posture you assume at that moment. This means that if you are either sitting, standing or in a sleeping position, your utricle and saccule will inform your brain about it.
The role of your brain
The function of the brain is to take in all these data and information sent to it by the five components, bring them together and help them make complete sense. In other words, the role of the brain is to interpret that raw data and translate them into a usable action.
However, there are times when your brain might be getting mixed and confusing signals. For example, if you find yourself in a flying aeroplane, you feel like you are no in because of the speed and the knowledge of the fact that you are on the plane.
However, your eyes are telling your brain something else such as the fact that you are not really moving as you are not seen by the eyes to be taking any real step. The opposite, in this case, is also true as well.
It is also the same thing that happens when you are in a car, train or boat. It often appears to your inner ear that you are going somewhere because it has begun to sense a change in balance and also a change in environmental position; however, your eyes are telling your brain something which involves the fact that none of your muscles is in action hence there is no physical movement going on.
The result of these conflicting ideas and opinions of both senses and also as a result of the confusing facts they happen to send to the brain at that same period, your brain will get confused hence leading back to one thing- Motion Sickness.
The thing is there are no specific group of people that are susceptible to getting motion sickness. In fact, statistics show that for every one person in his or her lifetime has undergone some effects of motion sickness before.
However, mostly pregnant women and children are at high risk of getting motion sickness. Unlike the cold or the flu, motion sickness is not contagious in any way hence it is impossible to spread it to anyone if you have the disease.
There are risk factors to be considered when looking at people who would likely get motion sickness. They include:
- A person’s fear and anxiety about taking that mode of transport or that particular trip can trigger motion sickness.
- A person’s general fear of travelling can as well trigger motion sickness
- Poor or lack of adequate ventilation in the vehicle of transport.
- Having the inability to see your outside surroundings which can aid your eyes to get in touch with the fact that you are indeed travelling.
What are the symptoms you would experience when you have motion sickness?
When you have motion sickness, you will likely experience one or more of this array of symptoms, and one thing you must take note is that motion sickness gives no prior warning before it starts.
This means that you won’t have any warning signals to look out for as it quickly breaks out once there is an imbalance your internal system feels. Initially, you would begin to experience sweat all over your body as well as sudden chills. After this, you would likely begin to start feeling the need to throw up.
Asides this initial symptoms, you may likely begin to experience dizziness, increased saliva production from your salivary glands, loss of appetite and inability to eat or put anything down, pale skin, headaches, shallow breathing, excessive tiredness and muscle weakness(if it becomes severe), belching, sharp and intense hyperventilation, as well as stomach troubles.
For some people, they may not experience the symptoms of this sickness for a very long time they usually go away once the person has become used to the journey as well as the means of transport; however, it is not the same for everyone. For others, they may experience this problem all through the journey except they undergo some steps or probably take some medications.
If you have motion sickness and you find out that the issue isn’t resolving itself in its own, you might use some of the following tricks to help ease the feeling.
1. Take a deep breathe and relax: You having to worry about what you are feeling or allowing anxiety to set in isn’t going to help you. It is only going to worsen the entire situation so instead try and relax.
Find something to focus on. It could be you deciding to focus on a happy thought or moment, or you may choose to count back from 100 down to zero. You may even decide to close your eyes to take your mind off the journey. Whatever you do, ensure it is to help you relax and take deep breathes.
2. Get a fixed object and keep looking at it: You might decide to look through the windshield if you are in a car or at the horizon if you are travelling in a boat or ship. Whatever you do like, get your mind off the fact that you are moving.
3. Whatever you do avoid alcohol, before, or during the journey: This is the truth. Drinking isn’t going to ease your condition; instead it is going to worsen it. Here is what you should do, instead of alcohol, take water. Water will help reduce the feeling of you throwing up.
Also, get something light to take before the journey. Ensure it is not heavy and try not to get overstuffed. Also, it is probably not a good idea to fast as well as this may irritate your stomach the more.
4. Breathe fresh air in: You can ease the feeling of throwing up and nausea by breathing fresh air. Take in fresh air at intervals.
5. Avoid reading anything: The more you read, the more you load and confuse your brain and the more you increase nausea and dizziness you are feeling.
6. If you are using an aeroplane as your means of travel, ensure you get a seat that is over the wing of the plane. If you are travelling by sea and you are using a ship, seat at the upper deck cabin as this will expose you to fresh air the more. If you are travelling in a car, try to get the front seat spot as this would help you concentrate on the windshield if you need to focus on your breathing.
Asides these tips, there are some natural remedies you may want to try out, and some people have actually testified to feeling relief after using some of these remedies. They include:
1. Raw ginger: There has always been a native tale and folklore that speculates that this root is effective in helping to fight nausea. Well, science has indeed confirmed and established this fact.
According to research in 2012, science proved that ginger is effective in fighting some diseases and one of them is nausea. However, it may not be thoroughly recommended for you to use on your own because it can also act as a blood thinner. To get full use of this root without having long-term side effects, ensure you talk to your doctor to know how many is okay for you to take and how frequently you should use it.
2. Mint: Just like ginger, mint has also be seen to have helped in combating some diseases as well as some symptoms of motion sickness. Asides this, there is a soothing effect that taking of mint brings to the body, and you need this exact kind of soothing feeling most especially when you are battling motion sickness.
3. Acupuncture and acupressure: Some people have confirmed that whenever they stimulate an area just above their wrists, it has helped them in controlling their nausea. However, there is no scientific backing for this discovery just yet. Maybe sometime soon, we would get researchers to help us investigate the accuracy of this information.
However, if the above techniques and natural remedies don’t work out for you, there is still the option of medications that you can always try out. You can call your doctor and discuss the following with him/her:
1. Dramamine: Also known as dimenhydrinate. It is an over-the-counter antihistamine which helps in stimulating the relief of allergies. Asides this, it also helps the body in maintaining balance as well.
However, if you must use this drug, then you should take the first dose an hour before you embark on your trip. Subsequently, the remaining doses should be taken after every 4-6hours depending on the length of your journey
2. Maldemar: Also known as Scopolamine. This sort of medication is known as a prescription medication. It is in the form of a patch, so you wear the patch in the area just behind your ear, and you would wear it for four hours. The effect of a dose lasts about three days. However, you must use it 4hours before travelling.
There are some other drugs which can be used to minimise the signs experienced, and they include cyclizine, meclizine, promethazine etc.
However, when using these drugs, there are some things you must note which include the fact that these drugs come with some side effects such as drowsiness and dry mouth. Hence, ensure that you visit your doctor and get an appropriate prescription before using them.
If after using all these tips and even after the medications, you are still feeling nausea, vomiting and all other signs that come along with motion sickness, you need to visit your doctor for proper body checkup.