What is motion sickness and why do we get dizzy when traveling

The long-awaited vacation trip can turn into a nightmare for those who suffer motion sickness, also known as “travel sickness”. Whether by car, train, boat or plane, many are unaware that this condition, which has the symptoms vomiting, nausea, sweating and even drowsiness, mainly affects children and that it is possible to appease with a few simple measures. The most serious cases may require prescription medication.

Why motion sickness occurs

“It is a picture that we mostly see in childhood, from the age of 2, and that is produced by a balance disorder, a lack of coordination that the brain receives, when perceiving movement through the eyes and other stimuli produced by the inner ear ”. This is how the pediatrician Angela Nakab (MN 68722), member of the Argentine Society of Pediatrics.

According to the specialist, this lag that occurs between the movement that the brain perceives and the stimuli that are reproduced in the visual field or vestibular can cause nausea, vomiting, sweating, increased salivation, sleepiness and gastric discomfort.

Nakab explains that according to some studies, there are means of transport that are more likely to generate these symptoms, such as everything related to the sea. In the boats, he says, up to 7 percent of travelers usually have vomiting and 29 percent some of the other annoyances. At the other end is the airplane, where only 0.5 percent usually suffer vomiting and 25 percent some other symptomatology related to this condition.

In the middle are the car trips, where 2 percent of travelers vomit and about 41 percent feel dizzy, nausea and other discomfort. “As families usually travel more by land, it is about what we have the greatest number of inquiries,” he adds.

Another of the peculiarities of this condition, Nakab highlights, is that the discomfort has a beginning and an end that coincides with the trip. That is to say, it is a “temporary problem”. Also, which is a disorder that usually disappears with age by the “habituation”, that is to say, by the repeated exposure of traveling in that means of transport.

what is there to do

“The feeling that one has of loss of balance in general is accompanied by the urge to vomit. The most important is try to prevent this dizziness ”, adds the pediatrician who suggests the following recommendations:

  • Focus the seen at a fixed point, either on the horizon or at a certain point through the window. “You have to try to get the boys to keep their eyes fixed on one point. The perception of movement is going to decrease and sometimes in this way it is possible to reduce the appearance of dizziness ”, explains the pediatrician.
  • Not recommended read, write, draw, or look at a screen as this “decreases the perception of movement” and can cause more dizziness.
  • “In relation to food, you have to try to ensure that the children are not hungry, but also that they have not eaten excessively. On long trips it is recommended stop every two three hours to eat something light, ”says Nakab.
  • Have cold water the feeling of nausea decreases.
  • It is recommended to avoid sudden maneuvers while driving and maintain a nice tempeture inside the vehicle. “Let there be ventilation, let the air flow. Avoid extreme heat and if you go with the windows closed, open every hour to renew the air ”, he adds.
  • Try distract the boys With different types of play, “distraction reduces the feeling of dizziness.”
  • Stop every two to three hours at the most.
  • Sit vertically, not lying down, and in the direction of movement, forward.
  • “When children sleep, dizziness does not appear, so trying to make children sleep is a good option,” adds the pediatrician.

Medication and the need to consult a professional

“If with all these measures the picture does not improve it is necessary to consult with the pediatrician so that indicate if it is appropriate to take medication. There are medications, but as they have side effects, they always have to be evaluated and supervised by the pediatrician ”, recommends Nakab.

Finally, the pediatrician makes a special call for attention that children should always travel in what is known as the armchair, the Child Restraint System, which is mandatory as a security measure. “Girls and boys should always travel in their seat to prevent totally avoidable injuries,” he closes.

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