Do you want to throw up when the bus starts to speed up? Don’t worry; you are not the only one. A lot of people around the world feel the same, which is commonly known as motion sickness.
This problem affects people from time immemorial. Even Hippocrates, the father of medicine, mentioned something similar during a boat trip, according to Dr Loren Lesater of Arizona, USA.
Motion sickness is very unpleasant. It can make travelling miserable and stressful instead of fun. It can happen on anything that moves at speed, like a car, train, boat, aeroplane, or even on rollercoasters.
Once it starts, it usually continues until the movement stops. People experience symptoms like their heads spinning and nausea, and on many occasions, they vomit during transportation.
This problem can affect anyone, but certain groups are at higher risk. Children aged between 2 to 12 years are prone to motion sickness. However, as they grow older, many of them will get rid of it. Pregnant women, people suffering from migraine, or with a family history of vomiting during travel are all at risk.
But why does it happen?
Dr Niket Sonpal of New York explained that our inner ear is responsible for maintaining our balance, and unusual movement disturbs it.
In the case of such movements, the inner ears of many individuals send signals to the brain about unusuality. Then people feel symptoms of motion sickness.
What can we do to reduce the risk of motion sickness?
There are several strategies we can adopt. Choosing a front seat, e.g., the front passenger seat in a car is essential as the movement in the backseat is always more. Choosing a window seat on a bus or train is also good since this allows a chance to breathe fresh air. If someone is feeling sick, they can open the window and breathe the air in slowly.
While travelling, looking forward or keeping the eyes fixed on something distant helps to keep motion sickness at bay. If possible, lying down, closing the eyes, and sleeping is suggested. Hydration is also critical; we should drink enough fluid during the journey but limit caffeine intake. For a smoker, refraining from that before he/she starts the travel is recommended.
The common thought is that if we do not eat anything before the travel, this can prevent vomiting. This is not completely accurate, and not eating anything before a long journey will make you tired and hungry.
So, it is better to eat a small amount of low-fat food and avoid anything that you know can upset your stomach. Heavy or spicy meals are also not favourable to your stomach if you are going on travel in a few hours.
Chewing-flavoured candies or lozenges are good options to reduce the risk of vomiting. In case of a long journey, it is best to break it up into smaller parts and relax during those breaks.
Some things can increase the risk of vomiting if you are vulnerable to motion sickness.
Although very common, reading books or watching movies while travelling is not a healthy choice for them. Similarly, using smartphones, tablets, or other electronic devices is not advisable if you have a history of throwing up in the vehicle. Nowadays, we have medicines to prevent motion sickness. However, it is better to consult a doctor if those are needed.
Motion sickness is common to a lot of people. Though not life-threatening, it is very unpleasant and a cause of anxiety. There are strategies, as explained above that we can take to minimise the risks.