How to Prevent Motion Sickness

Make sure to prevent Motion Sickness before it gets you.

If you travel a lot, you’ve no doubt felt the ill effects of air turbulence, while in a small boat in rough waters or trying to read in the back seat of a car.

Motion sickness refers to the body’s normal physiological response to unusual perception of motion, whether real or apparent. Symptoms include dizziness, cold sweats, nausea and sometimes vomiting. It can result from travel in a car or plane but often occurs on a boat, something we all know as “seasickness”. Symptoms are usually mild but can be unpleasant or even harmful if they cause prolonged vomiting. Children age 2 – 12, pregnant women and people with migraines are especially susceptible. Preventing motion sickness is much more effective than trying to treat it after it occurs.

Ways to Prevent Motion Sickness:

  • If you don’t have sea legs, sail on a larger ship which experiences less swaying motion than a smaller one. Choose a cabin near the center of the boat and closest to the waterline where there is less motion.
  • Fix your gaze on the distant horizon and try to look towards the motion of the vessel. Avoid closer stimuli, such as reading or using your mobile device.
  • Lying horizontal can lessen symptoms by eliminating the up and down motion component. Being prone (on your stomach) is even better. Closing your eyes can also help.
  • If sitting, support your head and recline if possible.
  • Avoid excess alcohol and heavy, greasy meals. Sometimes the smell of food or unpleasant odors can trigger symptoms. Get fresh air.

Non Medication Options:

  • Acupuncture and acupressure have long been thought to reduce nausea from many causes. Wristbands are commercially available that apply pressure to the P6 pressure point just above the wrist. Good quality medical trials have not consistently shown these to be effective, but they are harmless and could be worth a try.
  • Eating ginger is another popular remedy to prevent nausea from motion sickness. Medical studies have reached mixed conclusions about its effectiveness. Ginger is more likely to help with nausea from other causes, like pregnancy.
  • Finally, various over the counter and prescription medications are available to prevent motion sickness and treat symptoms. We’ll review these in detail in our next blog.