For many, motion sickness is a common condition, which can make driving, rollercoasters, and other travel miserable for those affected. Almost everyone can get motion sickness if subjected to motion that is intense enough, but there are symptoms to be aware of, and ways to prevent motion sickness in the first place.
Put simply, motion sickness is a type of dizziness, Eric R. Goldberg, MD, an internal medicine specialist at NYU Langone, tells Health. Motion sickness happens what some parts of your body sense motion while others don’t. This essentially confuses the body—your eyes signal that the body isn’t moving, but your inner ears or other parts of the body say differently.
“There’s a discrepancy. Your brain is trying to figure out which signal is right,” Dr. Goldberg says. “That mismatch of information puts a stress on the body.”
Symptoms of motion sickness include pale skin, dizziness, sweating, nausea, and vomiting. Different people may experience motion sickness differently. To prevent motion sickness, it is important to plan ahead, avoiding certain triggering foods that upset your stomach. Focusing on stationary objects, for example, the horizon if you are on a boat, can also help. Sleeping and resting your eyes are also recommended to eliminate visual input interacting with sensory input telling your body that you are in motion.
Dr. Goldberg says your doctor might recommend one of two medications if you experience motion sickness: dimenhydrinate (also known as Dramamine®), which is commonly used to treat nausea, or diphenhydramine (also known as Benadryl®), a medication commonly used to treat allergies.
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