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Motion Sickness

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Motion Sickness
Summary
  • Motion Sickness is a condition of nausea caused by erratic or rhythmic motions experienced when travelling (e.g. by car, plane, boat, train).
  • Motion Sickness can result in symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, dizziness and headache.
  • Anti-nausea drugs may be prescribed – discuss with your pharmacists.
Description

Motion Sickness is a condition of nausea caused by erratic or rhythmic motions experienced when travelling (e.g. by car, plane, boat, train)1.

Motion Sickness is thought to be caused by an irritation to the inner ear. Motion Sickness can result in symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, dizziness and headache2. Constant movement, poor ventilation (e.g. fumes, smoke and carbon dioxide) and emotional factors (e.g. fear and anxiety), may trigger or worsen an attack of Motion Sickness. The symptoms usually stop immediately after the movement ceases3.

The following guidelines may help to prevent Motion Sickness:

  • Avoid reading while in motion.
  • To improve ventilation, travel with a window open and avoid exposure to cigarette smoke in the vehicle.
  • Face forward while travelling. If travelling on a boat, look just above the horizon as much as possible and avoid focusing on waves or other moving objects.
  • Do not eat a large meal before travelling4.
  • Management

    As with all conditions your Doctor should be consulted to diagnose and treat this condition. Ask your Doctor about the latest advice on this ailment. Your ears might be examined for a possible blockage which may be contributing to the symptoms of Motion Sickness. Anti-nausea drugs may be prescribed.


    Lifestyle

    Diet Hints
    • Avoid heavy red meats and fried foods. Milk and dairy products may aggravate Motion Sickness in some people5.
    • Ginger is a herb which may help to relieve and prevent Motion Sickness. Ginger comes in a variety of forms such as a nutritional supplement; powdered for use as a tea; crystallised ginger; or the fresh root can be added to cooking6.
    • It is very important to have small amounts of fluids, regularly, when travelling. This is especially important when travelling long distances in air conditioning which can cause bodily fluids to dry up more quickly (dehydration)7.
    • Avoid drinks containing caffeine and alcohol which can have a dehydrating effect on the body8. A lack of fluids may induce a headache and/or nausea.9
    • Whole grains and wheat germ are good sources of vitamin B6, which may help to prevent nausea10.  


    Vitamins/Minerals/Herbs

    Nutritional supplements are only to be used if dietary intake is inadequate.

    • Ginger is well known for its anti-nausea action. Ginger may stop nausea and vomiting and also cramps.11
    • Chamomile may reduce nausea, vomiting and cramps associated with motion sickness.
    • Peppermint is believed to have a strong anti-nausea action and also acts as an anti-spasmodic herb (reduces cramps).12
    • Vitamin B6 and magnesium may help to prevent nausea.13
    • Ginkgo biloba may help with any dizziness or lightheadedness.14
    • Charcoal capsules may relieve nausea15.
  • Pharmacist's Advice

    Ask your Pharmacist for advice.

    1. Follow the Diet Hints.
    2. There are two types of Motion Sickness tablets available from your pharmacy16. One group is atropine based and should be taken one hour before travel. These drugs tend to dry the mouth and cause mild constipation. The other group of Motion Sickness medications are antihistamines which can be very effective. Ask your Pharmacist for advice.
    3. Another product which has been found to be successful in some cases of Motion Sickness is a special wrist band called the (Sea Band). This band applies pressure towards the centre of the wrist on a particular pressure point which is believed to help relieve nausea. Usually two bands are worn, one on each wrist.
    4. If possible, encourage a person who is having an attack of Motion Sickness to lie face-down on the ground bracing the head17.
    5. Consider some nutritional supplements if the diet is inadequate.
  • Notes

    References

    1. Motion Sickness. The Merck Manual. 16th Edition. 1992.
    2. Motion Sickness. Mosby's Medical, Nursing and Allied Health Dictionary. Third Edition. 1990. 
    3. Golding JF, et al. Effect of sickness severity on habituation to repeated motion challenges in aircrew referred for airsickness treatment.; Aviat-Space-Environ-Med. 1995 Jul; 66(7): 625-30. 
    4. Kaminsky L, et al. Motion Sickness. Your Child's Health. A Manual for Australian Parents. 1994.
    5. Lindseth G, et al. The relationship of diet to airsickness.; Aviat-Space-Environ-Med. 1995 Jun; 66(6): 537-41.
    6. Meyer K, et al. Zingiber officinale (ginger) used to prevent 8-Mop associated nausea.; Dermatol-Nurs. 1995 Aug; 7(4): 242-4.
    7. Carter W, et al. Travel Medicine. The Macquarie Home Guide to Health and Medicine. 1993. 
    8. Benincosa LJ, et al. Effects of acute caffeine ingestion and menopause on sulfate homeostasis in women. Department of Pharmaceutics, School of Pharmacy, State University of New York at Buffalo 14260, USA. Life-Sci. 1995 Sep 8. 57 (16). pp1497-505.
    9. Gursche-S, MH. Encyclopedia of Natural Healing, Alive Publishing Inc, Canada, 1997, p969-971.
    10. Gursche S. Encyclopedia of Natural Healing, Alive Publishing Inc, Canada, 1997, p969-971.
    11. Balch JF, et al. Prescription for Nutritional Healing, second edition, Avery Publishing Group, New York, 1997, pp391-2.
    12. Gursche S. Encyclopedia of Natural Healing, Alive Publishing Inc, Canada, 1997, p969-971.
    13. Gursche S. Encyclopedia of Natural Healing, Alive Publishing Inc, Canada, 1997, p969-971. 
    14. Gursche S. Encyclopedia of Natural Healing, Alive Publishing Inc, Canada, 1997, p969-971. 
    15. Balch JF, et al. Prescription for Nutritional Healing, second edition, Avery Publishing Group, New York, 1997, pp391-2.
    16. Okada F, et al. Blockade of motion- and cisplatin-induced emesis by a 5-HT2 receptor agonist in Suncus murinus; Br-J-Pharmacol. 1995 Mar; 114(5): 931-4.
    17. Motion Sickness. Prophylaxis and Treatment. The Merck Manual. 16th Edition. 1992.
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