I was on my way to Kigali when a fellow traveler asked me, “Is it possible to prevent or cure motion sickness”? This is what prompted me to write about motion sickness.
Motion sickness is the sickness one develops while travelling. Travel can be by sea, air or car. The ones susceptible to it develop nausea, vertigo, dizziness and even vomiting.
In severe cases the individual experiences extreme fatigue at the end of the journey. Some persons experience mild symptoms and are able to travel, while for some unfortunate individuals, travelling becomes a nightmare making them sick at that time and after. They become debilitated few hours to days after any travelling done.
Persons of all ages and both genders can suffer from motion sickness. In case of children, the problem diminishes at times as they grow up because the body’s equilibrium system gets stronger.
Root cause for motion sickness is said to be an imbalance between input to the eyes in form of vision and sense of equilibrium maintained by the labyrinthine system situated inside the ear.
It is said that when one cannot see clearly and focus on objects outside as in a fast moving car speeding up or down, it tends to produce nausea. More is the speed or turbulence of the car or boat; more severe symptoms are experienced by those suffering from motion sickness.
The sickness is less if the car or boat moves smoothly and slowly even if the route is rough. It is produced more while looking down in a moving car as for reading a book.
Different kinds of odours prevalent in a crowded place, lack of adequate air, all these aggravate the sickness.
One hypothesis says that motion sickness is protective action of the brain to protect it from potential damage by toxins.
When there is imbalance between the sight and the balancing system the brain feels threatened by potential damage by toxins.
It is not only during travel, but people experience motion sickness while going on a roller-coaster ride as in amusement parks. Some persons experience it while watching movies on large screens, more so with 3D movies or those with rapidly changing scenes. Astronauts experience it in space ships.
For those susceptible to motion sickness, there is no total cure available with medicines.
Chewing or biting is said to avoid or minimize the malady. Therefore many air companies offer candies to passengers to chew during take-off of the air craft. One can chew some nuts, chewing gum or candy e.t.c. while commencing a voyage.
Ginger is said to be useful in preventing vomiting caused by motion sickness. Therefore taking tea with ginger or decoction with ginger about 30 minutes prior to starting the journey is useful to make one feel comfortable during the travelling.
One should avoid overeating before a journey, as this would definitely predispose to abdominal discomfort, nausea and vomiting. Similarly moving on an empty stomach is also not advisable.
Fixing one’s gaze in the distant horizon while on a journey is said to prevent the discomfort experienced while travelling. It is advised not to look down, particularly in persons in whom it is aggravated by looking down.
Gradually a person can also adapt his labyrinthine system to travelling, so that motion sickness can be avoided or minimized. This can be achieved by keeping the head maintained for few minutes in that position in which one feels giddy or nauseous.
Gradually the system will get acclimatized and travelling will not be so uncomfortable.
Anti-histaminic group of medicines (ones used against allergy), like diphenhydramine, promethazine, e.t.c. are useful in providing palliative relief from motion sickness and minimizing the discomfort.
An individual suffering from motion sickness can take one tablet about 30 minutes before commencing the journey. This does not provide a cure and a pill has to be taken every time before travelling.
Individuals suffering from motion sickness should not fear long travels. By adopting one or more of these measures, they can enjoy the journey as much as other individuals.