Packing the whole family into the car for a summer road trip can be fun – until someone gets motion sickness.
What is motion sickness?
According to Daniel Allan, M.D., a family health physician at Cleveland Clinic, motion sickness, which is sometimes also called car sickness, is a disturbance of the balance system which includes the inner ear.
“When your ears sense movement and your eyes don’t sense the same movement or there’s a little bit of a mismatch in terms of what you’re seeing and feeling, you get sick and for some people they’re very susceptible to that,” said Dr. Allan.
Motion sickness can occur with any mode of travel – on a boat, plane, train, bus or car.
Symptoms of motion sickness include nausea, headache, dizziness, excessive sweating and increased salivation.
How to avoid getting sick
For those who know they are prone to motion sickness or who have a child who is prone to it, Dr. Allan said there are steps that can be taken to help prevent getting ill.
He said sitting in the back seat will often make people feel worse, as can reading or playing video games while in the car.
Likewise, strong odors such as smoke or strong perfumes can often make folks feel sick.
Dr. Allan said sitting in the front seat, or sitting a child in the middle of the back seat, to enable a view out the front window instead of the side window, can help alleviate the view of constant motion.
“Hydrating well, not smoking; good ventilation will help, if it’s stuffy or hot you will typically feel worse, so making sure there’s good air conditioning and good ventilation will help,” said Dr. Allan.
Dr. Allan said that if the driver of the car is experiencing motion sickness, it’s a good idea to find a safe place to pull over and rest.