Is VR Gaming Making You Sick? Use These 5 Tips to Keep Playing

Virtual reality (VR) games and experiences are becoming more popular and advanced, but did you know that using VR headsets can cause nausea and dizziness, even in adults? Even if you are used to playing regular action and first-person video games, VR headsets can still leave you spinning, especially the first few times you use them. Luckily, since we’ve made it our job to relieve nausea and dizziness for people no matter what activities you enjoy, we have some tips for you that can help.

Here are 5 ways to enjoy virtual reality without getting sick:

Read the VR headset instructions and safety warnings...really

Even if you don’t typically read instructions on anything else, read—or, at the very least, scan through—the instructions and health and safety warnings that come with the VR headset. Why? For one, you want to make sure you get the most out of your headset, and to do that means you need to follow proper setup and use guidelines. Using the device properly from the get-go can help prevent injuries and adverse effects like nausea and dizziness. The warnings listed may also mention certain health conditions and medications that may increase your risk for nausea and dizziness when using a VR headset.

One safety recommendation—to first use the VR headset while sitting—is also a tactic that can help your brain adjust to the game and possibly reduce your risk of dizziness and nausea. Make sure there is good air circulation throughout the room as well. This can help prevent nausea or help you recover more quickly if the headset makes you feel sick to your stomach or dizzy. A hot, stuffy room will only intensify those negative side effects.

Try the VR headset in short bursts at first.

When you first test a new VR headset or game, keep the headset on for only five minutes—or even less if symptoms like dizziness, nausea, blurred vision or other similar issues arise. Just like testing out a new exercise machine, you want to see how you feel afterward. Our brains are used to focusing on a point in space around us in real life. VR tricks or confuses the brain because though the point in space seems a certain distance away in the image on your headset screen, your eyes are right next to the screen. Slowly building up time in the VR headset can help reduce nausea, dizziness and other side effects and make your transition to this new technology go more smoothly.

Take frequent breaks.

When playing any video game, it’s beneficial to take frequent breaks to reduce muscle and eye strain. The last thing you want to do is have to explain to your boss that you can’t work because you hurt your back playing in virtual reality. Taking breaks in VR can also help prevent nausea and dizziness. Be aware that you may not even realize how affected you are until you take off the headset. This is why it’s a good idea to set a timer on your cellphone to remind you to take off the VR headset and see how you feel. Even if you feel fine, walk around, get some fresh air and take some time before you put it back on and play again. Manufacturers suggest a 10 to 15 minute break for every 30 minutes of VR play, even if you don't think you need it

Do not use VR when you’re sick.

Your ears, eyes, sinuses and brain are all key to feeling physically stable and balanced. If you are already suffering from a cold, sinus infection, headache, eye problem, upset stomach or other illness, using a VR headset can make nausea and other symptoms worse. If you have a chronic health condition, especially one that affects your balance, eyes or inner ears, check with your doctor before trying the headset.

Take Dramamine® to prevent or relieve VR sickness

If you feel sick after playing VR games, try Dramamine®-N Multi-Purpose Formula –it was developed to relieve nausea and vomiting due to gaming and other everyday activities. You can also take a dose 30 minutes before you play to help prevent nausea from happening, especially when first using the VR headset.

Or try Dramamine®-N Long Lasting Formula which lasts for up to 24 hours to help prevent and relieve nausea due to VR and video game playing. Adults can take one dose 30 minutes before gaming to help prevent nausea, dizziness and vomiting.

If symptoms are serious or do not go away, call your doctor for advice on what to do next. Stay away from VR and other video games until your doctor clears you.