What's the Best Way to Deal with Motion Sickness?

A ferris wheel
(Image credit: <a href='http://www.shutterstock.com/pic.mhtml?id=74393563'>Ferris wheel photo</a> via Shutterstock)

"The Healthy Geezer" answers questions about health and aging in his weekly column.

Question: How can a person deal with motion sickness?

Answer: Motion sickness is caused by conflicting messages arriving at the central nervous system. For example, suppose you're below deck in a storm. Your body is getting information that the boat is moving violently. But your eyes see the unmoving walls of your cabin. This is a common scenario for nausea and vomiting.

Here are some tips to avoid motion sickness:

  • Always ride where your eyes will see the same motion that your body senses. For example, sit in the front seat of the car and look out the windshield to distant scenery; don't stare at the rapidly passing telephone poles outside the passenger window.
  • If you're on a boat, go up on deck and watch the horizon.
  • On an airplane, sit by the window and look outside. Also, choose a seat over the wings where there is the least motion.
  • On a train, take a seat near the front and next to a window. Face forward.
  • Minimize head movement.
  • Avoid strong odors and spicy or greasy foods.
  • Don't overeat.
  • Don't smoke or sit near smokers.
  • Take motion sickness medicine recommended by your physician.

If you have a question for the Healthy Geezer, please write to fred@healthygeezer.com.

All rights reserved © 2012 by Fred Cicetti

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Fred Cicetti is a contributing writer for Live Science who specializes in health. He has been writing professionally since 1963. Before he began freelancing, he was a reporter, rewriteman and columnist for three daily newspapers in New Jersey: The Newark News, Newark Star-Ledger and Morristown Record. He has written two published novels:" Saltwater Taffy—A Summer at the Jersey Shore," and "Local Angles—Big News in Small Towns."