What is motion sickness?
Motion sickness occurs when your brain can’t make sense of information sent from your eyes, ears and body. Lots of motion — in a car, airplane, boat, or even an amusement park ride — can make you feel queasy, clammy or sick to your stomach. Some people vomit. Being carsick, seasick or airsick is motion sickness.
Who might get motion sickness?
An estimated one in three people get motion sickness at some point. Women, and children age two to 12 are most at risk. Still, the condition can affect anyone.
These factors increase your chances of getting motion sickness:
- Family history of motion sickness.
- Hormonal birth control.
- Inner ear disorders.
- Menstrual periods.
- Parkinson’s disease.
What causes motion sickness?
Your brain receives signals from motion-sensing parts of your body: your eyes, inner ears, muscles and joints. When these parts send conflicting information, your brain doesn’t know whether you’re stationary or moving. Your brain’s confused reaction makes you feel sick.
For example, when riding in a car, your:
- Eyes see trees passing by and register movement.
- Inner ears sense movement.
- Muscles and joints sense that your body is sitting still.
- Brain senses a disconnect among these messages.
Many actions can trigger motion sickness, such as:
- Amusement park rides and virtual reality experiences.
- Reading while in motion.
- Riding in a boat, car, bus, train or plane.
- Video games and movies.
What are the symptoms of motion sickness?
Motion sickness can take you by surprise. You may feel fine one moment and then suddenly experience some of these symptoms:
- Cold sweats.
- Inability to concentrate.
- Increased saliva, nausea and vomiting.
- Pale skin.
- Rapid breathing or gulping for air.