If you feel nauseated or dizzy when you ride in a car, or on a boat, train, plane or amusement park ride, you are motion sick. The person next to you can feel perfectly fine, but you feel sick and want to throw up. Why?
Without getting too technical, let’s first look at what happens in your body to cause motion sickness.
What is motion sickness?
Motion sickness occurs when your brain receives conflicting signals from different sensory systems within your body that register motion—your inner ears, eyes, muscles and joints, and nerves in the skin. For example, if you’re in the back seat of a car reading a book or watching a video, the eyes send signals that your body is at rest, not moving, while the inner ears sense the movement of the car. In the inner cabin of a boat, this conflict can be even more severe—you’re in a room watching TV or sitting and talking to your friend or loved one and every part of your body except for your inner ear thinks you’re steady as if you’re in your living room at home. But your inner ear senses the boat moving with the waves.
Why you might experience motion sickness
1. Medications or illness
If you’ve never had motion sickness before and suddenly experience it in a car or other mode of transportation, you may be feeling the side effects of a medication you’re taking or of another medical condition. Some medications such as certain antibiotics, NSAIDS (ibuprofen or naproxen), birth control pills and others can make you more likely to feel motion sickness when traveling. Check the insert that came with your medication or call your doctor. If you have sinus congestion or a sinus or ear infection or have recently had a concussion, you may be more prone to motion sickness. People who get migraines are also more likely to get motion sickness.
Motion sickness is most common in children, though children do tend to grow out of it. About one-third of all children ages 2 through 12 suffer from motion sickness, which is why Dramamine® developed a solution formulated specifically for kids two years and older. Dramamine® for Kids not only prevents nausea, dizziness, vomiting and queasiness, but also treats symptoms on the spot and comes in a great-tasting grape flavor.
Pregnant women, especially those with morning sickness, are more likely to get motion sickness or feel nauseated when traveling than non-pregnant women. Women are also likely to see those symptoms increase when pregnant and traveling. Luckily, most pregnant women are able to take our Dramamine®-N Multi-Purpose formula which is made from ginger. Just check with your doctor first.
4. Women vs. men
Women are more likely than men to get motion sickness. The female hormone estrogen may be to blame as a spike in estrogen levels may cause or increase susceptibility to nausea. This is seen in the first trimester of pregnancy and also during a woman’s menstrual cycle. If you notice you tend to only be motion sick at a certain time in your cycle—midway through or right after ovulation—estrogen may be to blame.
If you are prone to motion sickness, make sure to always have Dramamine® in hand. Use our handy Where to Buy tool to find Dramamine® products near you.