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Dealing with motion sickness

health-and-fitness Updated: Mar 10, 2012 19:17 IST
Dr Anjali Mukherjee
Dr Anjali Mukherjee
Hindustan Times
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Some people experience nausea when they travel by car. This is specially common in children and the elderly. Some individuals feel nauseous with air travel and others feel dizzy and miserable at sea (in a boat or ship).

Symptoms of motion sickness include looking pale, nausea, vomiting and in extreme cases, even fainting. Some people feel giddy when they see the scenery flashing by, such as while travelling in a train. This happens because the balance of the fluid in the inner ears is linked to the receptors in the eyes.

When you focus on close objects such as trees or buildings that pass by, the balance gets disturbed. If this happens to you, stay still and breathe calmly, distract your mind by looking at your surroundings and not at close objects to help keep the fluid in the ears balanced. Also, try to open the window if you are travelling by car. Eating a large meal prior to any form of travel and a stuffy atmosphere make these symptoms worse.

Tips to prevent or lessen motion sickness
If you are going for a short trip, avoid eating and drinking anything. The day before you travel, eat light. Fruits, salads, grilled food and curd are okay.
If you are going for a long trip, eat very light. Like a toast and cheese, some vegetables and soup, some dry biscuits, fresh fruits etc.
Take small sips of fresh lime juice every once in a while.
A small amount of ginger tea is highly recommended before you travel.
Chew on a piece (1½ inch) of fresh ginger on the day you travel. It is very effective in combating nausea and
Begin taking a B-complex pill daily for at least a week before your journey.
When travelling in a car, sit in the front seat and look at the distant scenery.
On a boat, go up on the deck and watch the horizon.
Do not read while travelling if you are prone to motion
sickness, and do not sit in a seat that faces backward.
Do not watch or talk to another traveller who suffers from motion sickness.
Watch your consumption of foods, drinks, and alcohol before and during your trip.
Avoid excessive alcohol and foods or liquids that do not agree with you or make you feel unusually full.
Heavy, spicy, or fat-rich foods may worsen motion sickness in some people.
Avoiding strong food odours may also help prevent nausea.
Alternative therapy — yoga exercises are meant for achieving stability and balance at all levels. You could begin yoga if you want to correct motion sickness.
Most cases of motion sickness are mild and self-treatable. However, very severe cases and those that become progressively worse deserve the attention and care of a physician.

Dr Anjali Mukerjee is a nutritionist and founder of Health Total, a nutrition counselling centre