Ky Le, MD

Dr. Le completed his medical training in Texas, after which he went to work in hospitals, clinics, and urgent care centers in Texas, California, and Hawaii. He’s been practicing medicine for 13 years in Hawaii, enjoying the diversity of people and culture that the community has to offer.


Motion Sickness (Travel Sickness)

Motion sickness or travel sickness is a common condition that affects children and some adults. It causes symptoms of dizziness and nausea while traveling. Unusual movements send mixed and excessive signals to the position sensors of the brain. Triggering motion sickness. One can get a motion sickness prescription online.

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Motion Sickness (Travel Sickness)

Motions that you experience while traveling trigger sensory messages to the balance areas of the brain. Motions such as speed bumps, quick acceleration or sharp turns.

Motion Sickness in Children

Children experience motion sickness when they are focusing on a person or object inside the vehicle, while their balance mechanisms send signals that tell their brain that they are moving. Focusing on this such as mobile phones or comic books, which are stationary. The balance mechanisms in the inner ear also trigger a set of signals to show messages contrary to signals from your eyes. Such opposing, often confusing signals to the brain cause motion sickness.

Other triggers for motion sickness are, for instance:

  • anxiety
  • strong odors like petrol, food, etc
  • reading a book
  • focusing on a video game or mobile phone

Symptoms of Motion Sickness

Women and children suffer from motion sickness more than men. Although, most children outgrow the condition over the years. There is no conclusive data on why some people get it and some don’t.

Symptoms manifest in any mode of transport like cars, trains, boats or airplanes. A merry-go-round at a fair can also induce severe motion sickness. Often, when the ride ends, the symptoms go away. In rare cases, they may continue to bother you for as long as a few days after the ride has stopped. There is treatment available through a motion sickness prescription.

Common symptoms of motion sickness include:

  • Nausea
  • Profuse sweating
  • Headaches
  • Physical weakness
  • Increased secretion of saliva
  • Feeling cold and going pale


1. Prepare for your journey

  • Avoid a heavy meal before you plan to travel.
  • Try to take temporary breaks in long-distance journeys. Such as breaks to drink water, taking a short walk, and breathing fresh air. These are things you can do to help with motion sickness.
  • Do not consume alcohol or eat spicy, heavy meals before travel.
  • Sip cold water, ginger ale or a fizzy drink to ease your stomach and cause belches.

2. Sit comfortably

  • Choosing a place in the vehicle with minimal jerks and motion will help. Places like the middle of a boat, the wing of a plane or the front of a car.

3. Breathing and smell

  • Open a car window to breathe fresh air if possible
  • If you can smell petrol or diesel fumes, it may be better to close the windows and turn on the AC.

4. Using your eyes and ears differently

  • If you sleep or even just close your eyes for the entire journey, your brain will not receive mixed signals. This will help reduce confusion as a result.
  • Reading while traveling worsens motion sickness.
  • In fact, you can distract yourself by listening to music while traveling. Keep your eyes closed to avoid sending your brain mixed signals about the position.
  • Watching a video is a bad idea for those with motion sickness.
  • Looking ahead at a fixed place in the distance is advisable rather than moving cars or objects inside the vehicle.
  • If you are driving a car, your attention is on the road. Therefore, you are unlikely to feel motion sickness. If you are not driving, sitting next to the driver and watching the scene ahead is the next best thing.

Alternative treatments

  • Some people find that wearing Sea-Bands on your wrists helps with motion sickness. These bands are designed based on Chinese medicine that suggests points for accu-pressure.

Natural treatments

Other things that can help ease the condition along with medication:

  • Ginger in any form (in a juice, a biscuit or a sweet)
  • Focused deep breathing techniques and listening to soothing music. Clinical trials have proved this to be effective.


Medicines can help prevent or reduce symptoms of motion sickness. They are available over the counter. Or you can get a motion sickness prescription. They work by interfering with nerve signals sent to the brain.

How to take medication

It is best to take the motion sickness prescription medication half an hour before your journey begins. A common side effect for these medicines is that they cause extreme drowsiness. Hence do not drive after consuming these medicines.

Common Medications

Common medicine such as Hyoscine or scopolamine prevents the confusing nerve signals from reaching your brain. The medicine is available in a soluble form for children. Also, they should be taken 30 to 60 minutes before the start of a journey. The effects may last up to 72 hours. Common side effects include blurry vision, marked drowsiness, and dry mouth. It is available as a skin patch for children. Hyoscine patch is best suited for children over 10 years and adults. The medicine is absorbed through the skin. It can be applied 5-6 hours before travel as it works slowly. It is best applied behind the ear and should be removed when travel ends. Children can sometimes become irritable when the effects of the medicines wear off.

Antihistamines are another class of medicines that have fewer side effects than Hyoscine.

Promethazine is preferable for young children traveling on long journeys.

Cinnarizine or Cyclizine is preferred medicine for adults and older children as it causes them to be less drowsy

Prochlorperazine is available on prescription only. It changes the actions on the vomit-inducing chemical. Buccastem is a common brand that is absorbed through the gums. Although it tastes bitter, it is very effective.

Metoclopramide helps to quickly empty your stomach. When one’s suffering nausea the digestion slows down and this tablet helps to speed digestion. Children should not use this medication. However, it is very helpful for those with gastric reflux, who have had surgery recently or suffer from diabetes.

Ondansetron is best used for morning sickness and for sickness brought on by chemotherapy. This can also be effective for motion sickness if the traveling person is pregnant or undergoing chemotherapy.

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