October 20, 2014
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Travel Health

Motion sickness

Motion sickness

Carsickness, airsickness, or seasickness – they're all just different names for the same miserable problem: motion sickness. It can happen when there's a mismatch between what your eyes see and what your inner ear – the body's balance centre – senses when you're in a moving vehicle. The result? The familiar symptoms of nausea, paleness, a cold sweat, and vomiting.

Kids, especially toddlers and preschoolers, are most susceptible to motion sickness. Fortunately, they'll usually outgrow it after the age of five.

To prevent motion sickness before it starts:

  • Avoid heavy meals up to two hours before travelling.
  • Don't try to read when travelling – instead, look out the window at distant objects, or close your eyes.
  • In a car or bus, sit where you can see out the windshield and open a window for fresh air. Better yet, drive the car yourself and you won't feel sick!
  • On a ship, be sure to get a cabin on the inside, near the waterline, where there's less movement. When on deck, look ahead toward the horizon, which is stable.
  • In a plane, ask for a seat next to a bulkhead (wall) over the wings – it'll make turbulence less noticeable.
  • Just in case the sickness can't be avoided, always travel with a leakproof container – resealable food bags are a good bet.
  • If all else fails, talk to your doctor about over-the-counter or prescription medications that can prevent motion sickness.
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