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First Aid for Motion Sickness

Last updated March 2, 2018

Approved by: Krish Tangella MD, MBA, FCAP

Devon B. Allen

Motion Sickness is a condition that refers to the feeling of nausea, dizziness, and vomiting, associated with travel.

What is Motion Sickness?

  • Motion Sickness is a condition that refers to the feeling of nausea, dizziness, and vomiting associated with travel. The travel may be of any form such as via road, rail, water, or air
  • Motion Sickness is the result of the confusion that occurs while traveling, involving the eyes and inner ears, which is relayed to the brain. It is usually accompanied by sweating, uneasiness, nausea and vomiting

What are the Causes of Motion Sickness?

The causes of Motion Sickness include:

  • Any type of travel; such as on an airplane, ship, train, or car
  • It is caused by a disturbance in the inner ear, which controls balance and equilibrium

What are the Signs and Symptoms of Motion Sickness?

The signs and symptoms of Motion Sickness include:

  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Vomiting

How is First Aid administered for Motion Sickness?

First Aid tips for Motion Sickness include:

  • Take fluids that may help settle your stomach (like carbonated drinks) and crackers
  • Consider taking antihistamine drugs, such as Meclizine (Antivert, Dramamine), if you are prone to the condition
  • Try to look at distant objects, in the direction of travel
  • DO NOT read while traveling
  • Get fresh air by sitting near windows while traveling; try to obtain a seat, where motion is minimally felt
  • Try to avoid spicy food
  • Eat a little less than you normally would
  • If recommended and prescribed by a physician, consider using scopolamine patches (medication patches placed behind the ear, to prevent symptoms of Motion Sickness)

Who should administer First Aid for Motion Sickness?

Any individual near the person experiencing Motion Sickness (or the affected person himself/herself) may administer First Aid.

What is the Prognosis of Motion Sickness?

  • The prognosis is usually good; the symptoms usually improve when travel stops
  • But, some may experience continuing Motion Sickness symptoms, in which case they should contact their healthcare provider for further treatment

How can Motion Sickness be Prevented?

A few helpful tips to prevent Motion Sickness:

  • Try to get fresh air while traveling
  • Avoid smoking or sitting near smokers
  • Avoid alcoholic beverages, prior to and during travel
  • Avoid any strong odor

What are certain Crucial Steps to be followed?

  • Take an antihistamine drug, an hour before travel
  • Avoid known triggers as mentioned above

What are some Useful Resources for Additional Information?

References and Information Sources used for the Article:

Helpful Peer-Reviewed Medical Articles:

Reviewed and Approved by a member of the DoveMed Editorial Board
First uploaded: May 27, 2013
Last updated: March 2, 2018