Motion Sickness: Why Does it Happen?

Motion sickness can cause agitation, cold sweats, and vomiting in those who suffer from it. Read on to learn more about it!
Motion Sickness: Why Does it Happen?

Last update: 08 January, 2020

Most people enjoy holidays, trips, and getaway weekends. However, those who suffer from motion sickness sometimes wish they could teleport or just stay home.

As you may know, motion sickness is very common, especially in children.

Although it can happen to anyone, some people are more predisposed to it. Children between the ages of three and 12, people who suffer from anxiety, and pregnant women are most likely to suffer from motion sickness. But do you know why it happens?

In this article, we’ll explain everything you need to know about motion sickness and how to fight it. This way, you’ll be able to enjoy your vacation as you deserve.

Why does motion sickness occur?

To understand why it occurs, we must first explain briefly how our system of balance works.

The brain, to maintain stability, must first know the position the body is in. It uses balance receptors, which are located inside the ears. In addition, it also needs the information provided by the senses and the musculoskeletal system.

The information provided by your sight and your muscle and tendon receptors must match when it reaches the brain. This usually happens when you move voluntarily to walk or do any exercise.

However, when you’re looking at a fixed point, such as your cell phone, inside a moving car or a car that’s moving unstably, the information that reaches the brain from these two sources doesn’t match. In other words, your brain receives different information from each sense. Sight tells your brain that you’re still, while your body is experiencing the movements of the car.

A man driving a car.


This article may interest you: Seven Natural Remedies to Stop Vomiting

The symptoms of this condition

In this situation, there’s increased stimulation of the sense of balance. This organ lies in our middle ear. When it’s overactive, symptoms of dizziness occur:

  • The person who suffers from motion sickness can become pale and suffer from cold sweats
  • They also tend to feel agitated and nauseous
  • It’s quite common that they end up vomiting

How to avoid motion sickness

As we explained, what happens is that, when you look at a fixed point such as your cell phone, your eyes interpret that you’re still, although, in reality, you’re moving. This movement is passive, as it doesn’t depend on you but, instead, varies with the car.

Motion sickness is even more common if the road is bumpy or uneven. In fact, it worsens if there are lots of bends or if the car is going really fast. Therefore, the best preventive measure is to watch how you drive.

The driver should try to drive smoothly, without braking suddenly and, of course, controlling their speed. Likewise, they should avoid accelerations. The driver has to pay a lot of attention to this, especially if they’re on a mountain road.

If you suffer from motion sickness, you should ideally travel in the middle back seat. This is because, from that seat, you’ll be able to look at the landscape and be aware of the movement. When the sickness comes, it’s best to open the window, close your eyes, and try to relax.

A woman on a road trip.

Moreover, experts recommend to make sure that the car is well ventilated and at a good temperature, between around 70 and 73°F. Although you should try to avoid overeating before starting the trip, it is important to eat something light and drink a lot of water. In addition, it’s essential to make frequent stops to get some fresh air and relax.

If, despite everything, your motion sickness doesn’t allow you to travel comfortably, try to visit your doctor. Certain medications help reduce its symptoms. For example, antihistamines such as Biodramina or Cinfamar.

Also, some people use natural remedies such as ginger root or chewing gum during trips. There are even elastic bracelets designed to reduce motion sickness.


If you’re a person who suffers from frequent motion sickness, try to follow the advice we shared in this article. Also, don’t forget to always have plastic bags on hand in case of accidents. Likewise, you can try traveling during the night so you can sleep during the trip.

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