• 30Oct

    How to prevent travel sickness?

    Travel sickness is a commonly seen condition. This is a form of physiological dizziness which occurs in normal people when they experience unnatural patterns of motion. This can occur during sea travel, car ride, giant wheel ride or gliding. Susceptibility to this condition varies among people, some being more prone than the other. This condition is also known as kinetosis, sea sickness, motion sickness or space sickness.  


    Symptoms of travel sickness

    Travel sickness manifests with dizziness, cold sweats, headache, nausea and vomiting. The person may turn pale and feels fatigued completely. Some people may have excessive salivation. Seasickness during sailing may result in abdominal cramps with sever vomiting. One may develop dehydration and electrolyte imbalance.

    Reason of travel sickness

    Stimulation of vestibular system of brain which is concerned with body position and motion results in sickness. The vestibular system is connected to the vomiting centre of brain, the stimulation of which results in nausea or vomiting. A prolonged stimulation is usually associated with these symptoms. Visual stimulation of motion can also result in motion sickness as it may occur while playing video games or flight simulator. The sickness may develop in a car, ship, train or a bus. A lack of coordination between perception and visualization of motion occurs. This causes visual and vestibular conflict. While on board a ship, one may get relief by coming on to the top deck and focusing on the horizon or approaching land. Sitting in an enclosed cabin makes symptoms worse. Riding a car on the back seat aggravates this condition while sitting in front and looking into the distance is comforting.

    It is better to prevent motion sickness before the symptoms appear.

    It is better to prevent motion sickness before the symptoms appear.

    Some people are more likely to suffer from travel sickness. Clinical data has shown that patients with migraine are more likely to suffer from travel sickness. It was also found that the occurrence of travel sickness in children may be the first symptom of migraine.

    How to prevent travel sickness

    It is better to prevent motion sickness because once the symptoms appear, then they become uncontrollable. It subsides only when motion stops. Prevention of visual-vestibular incompatibility as described above helps in prevention of the symptoms of travel sickness. It is also known that repeated exposure to motion results in habituation and may result in complete disappearance of occurrence of this condition. One should minimize excessive movements of head while travelling, by pressing the head against the headrest of seat. This reduces vestibular stimulation and should focus eyes at a distance.

    During air travel, one should sit close to the wings as this part moves least while flying. While on board a ship, one should come to the top deck and fix eyes on the horizon. This may help one feel better as the mismatch of sensory stimuli reduces.

    Treatment for travel sickness

    There are many drugs available for treatment of motion sickness. These drugs act by regulating the action of neurotransmitters in the brain like histaminic, cholinergic and noradrenergic neurotransmitters. They prevent vomiting, block conflicting sensory inputs leading to vestibular-visual mismatch and promote habituation to motion during travel.

     Dehydration and electrolyte imbalance during sea sickness may require air-evacuation and hospitalization. Replacement of fluids is essential to prevent complications. Intravenous fluids are given to correct hydration and blood levels of sodium and potassium. The condition rapidly improves once the traveler is back on ground.

    Travel sickness in very troublesome once it begins. It may affect the life of a frequent traveler like journalist, business traveler or people employed on ships and aircrafts. If the condition persists, one should take a medical consult. Many people prefer a change in profession which does not require travel. However, in majority of people this sickness is mild and easily treatable.

    Anna L.

    It’s all about health!
    I have academic background in drugs related Chemical Technology, as well as extensive professional experience in pharma and medical companies. My main area of interest is everyday life medicine. The goal of my articles is to give people informative answers to the questions that bother them, to dispel doubts and some common misbeliefs and also to inspire everyone to keep healthy lifestyle.

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Discussion One Response

  1. December 27, 2014 at 10:19 pm

    A slice of lemon in hand, looking at the horizon and light meal.

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