Motion Sickness

(Air Sickness; Car Sickness; Sea Sickness)

Definition

Motion sickness is a feeling of sickness that happens with movement. It can also happen when a person looks at something that is moving, such as a movie or park ride.

Causes

The brain senses motion through signals from the ears, eyes, muscles, and joints. Motion sickness is when the eyes signal the brain that the body is still while the other parts of the body signal that it is in motion.

Central Nervous System

Central Nervous System
Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

Risk Factors

Motion sickness is more common in women and children. It is also more common in people who have migraine headaches.

Symptoms

Problems may be:

  • Nausea or vomiting
  • A pale face
  • Headache
  • Cold sweats
  • Lightheadedness

Diagnosis

The doctor will ask about your symptoms and health history. A physical exam will be done. This is often enough to make the diagnosis.

Treatment

Symptoms often go away soon after motion stops. Medicine that may ease symptoms include:

  • Over-the-counter antihistamines
  • Scopolamine

Prevention

These methods can lower the risk of motion sickness during travel:

  • Taking motion sickness medicine before any travel
  • Focusing on the skyline or an object that is far away
  • Not eating heavy meals before travel

RESOURCES:

Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians
http://www.familydoctor.org
Healthy Children—American Academy of Pediatrics
http://www.healthychildren.org

CANADIAN RESOURCES:

The College of Family Physicians of Canada
http://www.cfpc.ca/ForPatients

References:

Motion sickness. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at:
...(Click grey area to select URL)
Updated June 24, 2019. Accessed April 9, 2020.
Motion sickness. Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians website. Available at: https://familydoctor.org/condition/motion-sickness/. Updated November 13, 2018. Accessed April 9, 2020.
Nausea and vomiting in adults. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dyname... . Updated March 30, 2018. Accessed April 9, 2020.
Last reviewed February 2020 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Rimas Lukas, MD
Last Updated: 4/9/2020

EBSCO Information Services is fully accredited by URAC. URAC is an independent, nonprofit health care accrediting organization dedicated to promoting health care quality through accreditation, certification and commendation.

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.

To send comments or feedback to our Editorial Team regarding the content please email us at healthlibrarysupport@ebsco.com. Our Health Library Support team will respond to your email request within 2 business days.