Travel Sickness

By | June 8, 2022

Many people have experienced situations in their lives in which they felt unwell and dizzy as a reaction to unfamiliar movement. This so-called motion sickness or motion sickness is also known as motion sickness.

What is motion sickness?

Motion sickness is widespread and is often found in different forms when traveling to and from the destination in unfamiliar vehicles. The following is an overview of the definition, symptoms, diagnosis, causes, treatment and prevention of motion sickness. For meanings of inner ear infection, please visit

Kinetosis or travel sickness is generally referred to as physical complaints that can occur with unusual movement on or in a vehicle, with vibrations in upper floors of high buildings or with simulated movements through interactive images.

The most well-known form of motion sickness is seasickness, which can be triggered by the wave-like movement of a ship in rough seas. It can also happen that people who have not had problems with seasickness for years also later experience motion sickness, while others remain immune to motion sickness for the rest of their lives.

In more severe cases, however, motion sickness can also lead to cardiovascular problems, which should be treated with caution as, in rare cases, they can also lead to death.


Motion sickness can occur when a conflict in the brain arises from not being able to relate sensory impressions as they are taken in. Eyes and sense of balance send different perceptions and cause nausea.

For example, while movement on a passenger ship is perceived but not visualized, speed in a car is only seen but not actively perceived. This form of passive movement, which can also be felt in skyscrapers or in elevators, can cause motion sickness.

Anxious and insecure people complain more often about motion sickness, fear of flying and negative expectations also affect the susceptibility to motion sickness. Those who are frequently affected by migraines are also considered to be more susceptible to motion sickness.

Symptoms, Ailments & Signs

Motion sickness can vary in severity. Symptoms can appear before and during travel. The signs are particularly intense due to a sea voyage. In the preliminary stages of a trip, those affected feel the onset of nervousness, occasional discomfort and slight pressure in the stomach area.

Cold sweats and shivering can also occur. Travel sickness (kinetosis) can manifest itself as a pale complexion and dizziness due to the unfamiliar movement with a means of transport. These can develop to serious circulatory disorders.

Typical signs of motion sickness are headaches, nausea and vomiting, which often cause problems during a restless sea voyage. The function of the stomach and intestines is restricted. Heartburn can occur. Breathing speed may increase, sweating may occur more frequently.

In this condition, an accelerated heartbeat can be detected. At the same time, blood pressure drops. In individual cases, sufferers feel particularly listless and almost apathetic. There is a general tiredness and listlessness. Other symptoms of motion sickness include excessive yawning, a sinking feeling in the stomach and increased, almost compulsive swallowing.

Those affected speak less, react more slowly and appear disinterested. There is a lack of drive. Another sign of motion sickness is loss of appetite. In severe cases, tachycardia is also a symptom of motion sickness. In addition to a pale complexion, there can also be significant reddening of the face in individual cases.

Diagnosis & History

Motion sickness can be diagnosed whenever the symptoms described above appear in response to an unfamiliar movement and occur suddenly and without any physical cause. Anyone who rarely travels by train, plane or ferry may be affected by motion sickness again and again.

Kinetosis usually subsides after a few days on long-distance trips on a ship or when you get used to an unfamiliar living situation, regular flights or long car journeys. Travel sickness manifests itself in symptoms such as nausea, dizziness, vomiting or malaise, headaches or paleness.


Motion sickness can cause a number of complications. First, the disease leads to gastrointestinal complaints – it can lead to dehydration and deficiency symptoms. Excessive dehydration can be life-threatening in the elderly, children, and those who are ill. Motion sickness can also lead to hyperventilation and shortness of breath.

This is usually accompanied by a drop in blood pressure and an accelerated heartbeat. In rare cases, the disease leads to circulatory collapse. In general, there is a sharp decrease in well-being – a symptom that can lead to problems in people with previous mental illnesses. Adverse events can also occur during treatment.

The typically prescribed drug scopolamine often causes temporary dry mouth, tachycardia and visual disturbances. Occasionally, after ingestion, drowsiness, lowering of blood pressure and irritation of the eyelid occur. Rarely, memory and concentration disorders, hallucinations and balance disorders can occur, as well as occasionally temporary psychoses and acute glaucoma attacks.

Similar side effects and interactions are conceivable after taking meclozine, dimenhydrinate and other drugs. If the affected person has to be supplied with fluids intravenously, infections, edema and other symptoms can occasionally occur.

When should you go to the doctor?

Normally, travel sickness does not require medical treatment. The symptoms occur in connection with movements or an inner stress experience when travelling. In most cases, the discrepancies are temporary and spontaneous healing occurs. If symptoms occur regularly and are directly related to a trip, a doctor or therapist should be consulted in good time in advance. There are various options that can be used before starting a trip. In addition, self-help measures can be used to improve health.

If there are severe health impairments, a doctor is required. Dizziness, vomiting, looking pale and diarrhea should be observed. If the symptoms increase or last for a longer period of time, you should see a doctor. Listlessness, fatigue and changes in behavior are also signs of motion sickness. In severe cases, a doctor is needed.

Disorders of consciousness, sweating and irregularities in memory are considered alarming. A doctor is needed if there is no improvement or additional cardiovascular disorders. If the trip has to be canceled or interrupted because of the complaints, this is an indication that should be followed up. Sleep disorders, disorientation and apathy should be discussed with a doctor.

Treatment & Therapy

In the case of acute symptoms caused by motion sickness, the patient is primarily advised to reconcile the impressions of the organs of balance and vision that have gotten out of balance and to clarify the movement in pictures.

In the car, it helps to look out at the road or a fixed point on the horizon. Anyone who is prone to motion sickness when driving a car, train or bus should also sit as far forward as possible, where the vehicle sways the least and the movement is the least. The risk of getting travel sickness is also higher in rear-facing seats.

Closed ship cabins should also be avoided in case of motion sickness. The best view is through a window or on the deck of the surrounding wave action that is causing the nausea.

In some cases, conscious relaxation and meditation can also counteract motion sickness. If there is no improvement, the patient should be placed on his back. Sleep, during which the sense of balance is not stimulated, is also optimal for alleviating the disease.

Drug treatments are controversial and should only be used when symptoms have not otherwise been alleviated. If necessary, a doctor should be entrusted with the treatment of motion sickness.


Travel sickness in children can sometimes be prevented by shifting the journey to the night and thus preventing possible symptoms from sleeping. If you are affected yourself, you should avoid stimulants such as coffee or alcohol the day before, as well as food that is difficult for your stomach. Chewing gum or taking rusks or savory snacks evenly on an upset stomach helps many people against motion sickness.


Since the symptoms usually subside of their own accord shortly after the triggering stimuli have disappeared, comprehensive follow-up care is not necessary. Until the symptoms have completely subsided, however, those affected should take it easy and not put too much physical strain on themselves. Adequate fluid and nutrient supply generally contributes to rapid recovery and can thus support the body’s natural ability to regenerate.

In addition to water, light meals with a high water content that do not put additional strain on the stomach are recommended. However, we do not recommend fatty foods, coffee and alcohol. If the motion sickness was treated with medication or otherwise, possible after-effects of the ingested substances must also be taken into account. Some common preparations impair the ability to concentrate and cause tiredness.

If patients notice these side effects or if the package leaflet contains corresponding information, they should refrain from driving independently until the impairments have completely subsided. If the motion sickness lasted for several hours or days as a result of prolonged stress, special care is required when assessing the general condition.

In particular, large fluid losses due to vomiting must be compensated for gradually in order to prevent circulatory problems. More comprehensive follow-up care may also be needed for patients with cardiovascular disease whose health could be compromised by the disease. In this case, it is advisable to check blood pressure or insulin levels.

You can do that yourself

Motion sickness is a nuisance that is not uncommon. However, self-help is possible with this disease, especially if the disposition to do so is already known in advance. Prevention and help in acute cases are accessible to self-help.

If you know that you suffer from motion sickness, you can prepare specifically for trips by car, ship or flights. Homeopathic active ingredients are often helpful in this context and are available over the counter in drugstores or pharmacies. Diet should also be considered. Food should not be heavy on the stomach, but being completely sober is also to be avoided. Anyone looking outside should always do so through a front window. Objects sliding past side windows can increase motion sickness.

If motion sickness has broken out, a break in the fresh air is often helpful. It is best combined with light movement. If this is not possible on an airplane, for example, nausea can be alleviated with herbal remedies. If vomiting occurs, lost fluid should be replaced quickly if drinking is possible. Closing your eyes can reduce symptoms that often result from looking outward. The stewardess on airplanes often has the opportunity to offer those affected by motion sickness a quiet seat.

Travel Sickness