Do you get motion sick? Can you stop it before it starts?

Written by 
Bill Tsouvalas
Bill Tsouvalas is the managing director and a key company spokesperson at Savvy. As a personal finance expert, he often shares his insights on a range of topics, being featured on leading news outlets including News Corp publications such as the Daily Telegraph and Herald Sun, Fairfax Media publications such as the Australian Financial Review, the Seven Network and more. Bill has over 15 years of experience working in the finance industry and founded Savvy in 2010 with a vision to provide affordable and accessible finance options to all Australians. He has built Savvy from a small asset finance brokerage into a financial comparison website which now attracts close to 2 million Aussies per year and was included in the BRW’s Fast 100 in 2015 as one of the fastest-growing companies in the country. He’s passionate about helping Australians make financially savvy decisions and reviews content across the brand to ensure its accuracy. You can follow Bill on LinkedIn.
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, updated on November 25th, 2021       

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Are you one of the many Australians that experience motion sickness? Motion sickness can creep up on anyone and at any age. When there’s a long stretch of highway and the feelings of nausea hit, it can cause discomfort and anxiety in many. Here are some tips and tricks to help you prevent or lessen motion sickness.

What is motion sickness?

Motion sickness is the sensation of nausea or vomiting during fast motion (i.e., faster than walking pace.) When a person experiences motion sickness, the fluids of the inner ear are moving along with the person in a moving vehicle. The brain is interpreting that movement, [and] instead of saying ‘yes you are in a moving car,' it's interpreting it as an incorrect stimulus.

Women and children between the ages of 2 and 12 are more likely to contract motion sickness. Other factors include pregnancy, migraine and vestibular disease. The anxiety of remembering past motion sickness can often trigger a cascade effect of worse symptoms when travelling again.

How can I prevent motion sickness?

First off, eating light meals before travelling and drinking plenty of water is a good first step. Avoid foods that may upset your stomach.

You should always look at a fixed position to help your body acclimatise to the movement. Looking at the horizon is the best bet. Try to sit or drive in a position where movement is at a minimum.

Sleeping helps many people, as do motion sickness tablets. Some tablets cause drowsiness, so it’s a win-win!

Meditation or conscious distraction is always recommended. This does not mean reading, watching YouTube or playing games, as it can exacerbate the symptoms. Calming music or odours can help too.

The “verbal placebo” – a doctor or trusted person telling you you’re unlikely to get motion sickness – can also work in many situations.

Uh-oh, I think I’m starting to get sick…

If you’ve tried all the prevention and nothing has resulted in a cure, you can try a few more things. Stopping frequently takes up time. If that isn’t an option, try:

With all that in mind, have a pleasant – and sickness free – journey!

  • Turning the air conditioning on, as fresh air can help calm symptoms. Ensure that vents are facing you.
  • Drink more water while on the road. You may need to use a restroom more often but it’s better than the alternative.
  • Use herbs such as ginger, black horehound or peppermint to calm your stomach. Ginger ale is a good source, and you can sip it along the way. If you can prepare it before hand, fresh ginger tea is a great natural alternative.
  • Try acupressure. Acupressure bracelets can help calm people’s reaction to motion sickness.

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