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The condition is typically the result of conflicting messages being transmitted to the brain by the body’s natural motion detecting detectors (eyes, inner ear, joints, etc.); and it is relatively common. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, approximately 1 in 3 Americans experience motion sickness while travelling by car, plane, train, or boat, though some sources say it may be as common as 1 in 2. Motion sickness is generally characterized by: feelings of sickness or dizziness, headaches, loss of appetite, or pale or sweaty appearance.
Tactics for Combating Motion Sickness:
1. Place car seats as centrally as possible in the vehicle
- children feel motion more in the rear-most seats of SUVs and vans
2. Open windows and allow fresh air to circulate
3. Pay attention for early signs and symptoms
- pay attention if children report feeling ill - quick intervention can prevent full blown sickness.
4. Encourage children to focus on a distant object or horizon outside
of the vehicle
5. Grab a light snack, like saltine crackers and ginger ale, before
setting out or when symptoms appear
- as counter-intuitive as it may seem, an empty stomach can actually aggravate motion sickness.
- avoid heavy, greasy, or rich foods.
6. Drive as smoothly as possible
- sudden or hard braking and sharp, fast turns will only agitate motion sickness
- Chuckie's self-sealing motion-sickness bags can be a real lifesaver if motion sickness should strike in transit. It's also wise to bring along wet wipes and antibacterial surface wipes... just in case!
- many types of wristbands are sold for relief of motion sickness. Generally, these bands apply pressure on an acupressure point.
- over-the-counter drugs are available for motion sickness, but always consult your pediatrician before medicating a child. Also, be sure to follow the directions; most drugs need to be taken prior to the start of the trip to be effective.