The anticipation for the upcoming vacation is great, but as soon as the journey starts, the body reports with dizziness, nausea, and sweating. The motion sickness breaks out. Why do people get motion sick and what can be done about them?
Strictly speaking, motion sickness, or kinetosis, is not a disease. People who suffer from it just feel particularly miserable. The problem is completely harmless, unless the symptoms, such as vomiting, are so severe that the affected person excretes large amounts of water and salts. The symptoms often occur when one is exposed to passive movement, i.e. sitting in a coach, car, train, or plane or traveling by ship.
Women, and younger children between the ages of 6 and 12, are more likely to suffer from motion sickness. Twins often react similarly, which indicates a genetic component. Symptoms can appear at any time, even in people who have never been affected before. Why you get motion sick is not fully understood. The most popular theory, however, is that when the brain receives contradicting sensory perceptions about body movements, one feels sick.
Balance Organ To Cure Motion Sickness
The organ of equilibrium is in the inner ear. It is also called the vestibular apparatus. It registers all types of acceleration and changes in position. In this way you can orientate yourself in space. The organ consists of three approximately circular canals, the so-called semicircular canals and two atrial sacs. The bags register linear accelerations, for example when driving a car, the semicircular canals rotate movements, such as shaking the head and nodding.
Motion Sickness Is When Brain Gets Into Conflict
The brain determines the body position with the help of the eyes, the inner ear, and the so-called proprioceptive system. The eyes provide information about where you are. With the help of the balance organ in the inner ear, gravity and acceleration are perceived. The proprioceptive system also gives the brain information about whether muscles and tendons are tense. The brain assembles all of the information into a meaningful three-dimensional image.
As long as the brain can figure out the incoming sensory perception, everything is fine. However, if you read or check your cell phone while driving, your brain can get mixed up. Because the information it receives is contradictory. The eye does not report any body movement to the brain, because the eyes rest on rigid letters, for example.
But the inner ear perceives the constantly changing accelerations of the car. The brain gets into conflict. The body reacts with stress, overreactions such as nausea, sweating and dizziness occur. In most cases, those affected recover from motion sickness relatively quickly as soon as they can reconcile their sensory impressions like when those affected disembark a ship or get out of the car.
But there are a few tricks that can help you resolve the conflict between the eye and the inner ear beforehand. At best, you should drive yourself in the car, because as a driver you usually don’t feel bad. This is probably because those affected keep their eyes on the road. Otherwise, the passenger seat is a good choice when traveling by car. On the bus, you should sit as far forward as possible so that you can keep your eyes on the road.
On a ship, you should stay in the middle and ideally in the air. Also, you should focus on a calm point in the distance, for example, the horizon or a mountain. If the ship rocks, you simply move with it. By shifting your own bodyweight you can compensate for the movement of the ship.
In the aircraft, it can help to choose a place near the wings or in the front area. The turbulence is not as noticeable here as in the rear of the aircraft. On the train, it helps if you sit in the direction of travel and to walk the aisle from time to time. While sitting, some find it pleasant to close their eyes. Because then the visual information for the brain disappears and it can concentrate exclusively on the inner ear. Conscious breathing exercises and distractions, for example in the form of music or conversations can help avoid or overcome motion sickness.
Suggested Read: Why Don’t Children get Sick on a Swing but Adults get Nauseous?
No Fatty Food, No Alcohol
If you know that you are prone to motion sickness and above all suffer from nausea, you can take precautions before you start your journey. For example, you should try not to eat fatty foods. However, the trip should not be started on an empty stomach, instead, it is better to eat light food. Also, doctors recommend not drinking alcohol and refraining from cigarettes. Caffeine is also not a good idea.
If you finally feel the first symptoms, ginger can help. The spicy-tasting root is said to be able to effectively suppress nausea. To prevent an overreaction of the stomach, chewing movements also seem to be helpful. Not only is chewing gum a good choice, but chewing apples and carrots for a long time also calms the stomach.
If all that doesn’t work, there are also medications for motion sickness. But be careful, no matter whether it is tablets or chewing gum, many active ingredients against motion sickness can make you very tired. That is why you are not allowed to drive a car after taking it.
Also Read: 8 Effective Remedies For Motion Sickness
Astronauts can also get kinetosis. It is then not called travel sickness, but space sickness. When entering weightlessness, the organ of equilibrium can also be disturbed. In this case, too, the astronauts feel nausea, sometimes vomiting, and severe discomfort. However, the symptoms usually disappear after a few days as soon as the body has got used to the weightlessness.