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Dealing with Motion Sickness: Prevention and Remedies

As aviators, air travelers, or passengers, the risk of experiencing motion sickness from various modes of transport is high. While some individuals seem immune, around 20-30% of people report experiencing symptoms of nausea, vomiting, dizziness or pallor when flying or boating that disrupts travel plans and recovery (Schulz, 2000). Fortunately, many preventative measures and over-the-counter remedies work to keep motion sickness at bay.

The vestibular system in our inner ear detects body movement and rotation, sending signals to the brain. When these signals conflict with visual clues, it can create nausea and imbalance as a protective mechanism. Sitting near the wings on planes, facing forward on boats, and keeping one's focus outside are recommended to minimize conflicting cues (Wilkes, 2014).

Preventing motion sickness begins the evening before travel. Proper hydration, avoiding heavy, greasy meals, limiting salt, caffeine, alcohol, and emptying the bladder beforehand avoids added gastric distress (Hatch & Grossman, 2022). Travelers can also try ginger supplements which inhibit vomiting centers in the brain and stomach.

During transport, focusing on fixed external points, reading, and breathing techniques distract from symptoms. Bracelets containing acupressure Sea Bands work on popular pressure points to reduce nausea. Over-the-counter oral medications containing active ingredients like Dramamine, Bonine or an antihistamine are proven effective without drowsiness side effects. Patches containing Scopolamine are also a excellent extended-release option.

If sickness occurs, stopping medications when symptoms subside avoids side effects. Staying still and allowing symptoms to run their natural course prevents aggravating the condition. Sticking to clear liquids, carbohydrates or soda crackers allows comfort foods and replenishing electrolytes without upsetting the stomach further.

There are usually no long term complications from motion sickness as symptoms recede after travel ends. With proper precautions and quick remedies when needed, motion discomfort need not mar adventures involving travel overall.


Hatch, S. D., & Grossman, J. D. (2022). Strategies for the prevention and treatment of motion sickness: A review. Pharmacy (Basel), 10(2), 105.

Schulz, S. (2000). Multi-modality therapy for motion sickness. Journal of Travel Medicine, 7(4), 204-209.

Wilkes, B. L. (2014). Management of motion sickness. American family physician, 90(11), 781-785.

Gresty, M. A., Golding, J. F., Le, H. T., & Anderson, T. (2017). Cognitive, perceptual, and autonomic effects of seasickness and their prediction by vestibular ocular reflex parameters. Journal of Neurophysiology, 118(6), 3070-3080.

Havas, D. D., Rotte, M. J., Mainen, M. E., Gerson, R. J., & Woodward, N. C. (2017). Prevention and treatment of spaceflight-induced motion sickness. Aviation, space, and environmental medicine, 88(9), 883-888.

Wogalter, M. S. (2006). Concise encyclopedia of traffic and transportation systems. Elsevier.

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