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Travel Sickness

Travel sickness, otherwise known as motion sickness is a general termĀ for an unpleasant combination of symptoms, such as dizziness, nausea and vomiting, that can occur when you are travelling.


What causes motion sickness?
Motion sickness is thought to occur when there is a conflict between what your eyes see and what your inner ears, which help with balance, sense. It can occur when you are travelling by road, air, rail or sea and particularly when concentrating on tasks, such as reading or watching a film. It can sometimes occur when you are not travelling.

How common is motion sickness?
Anyone can get motion sickness although some are more vulnerable than others. Motion sickness is more common in children 3 to 12 years of age, after which people tend to grow out of motion sickness. However, women are more likely to get motion sickness than men, particularly if pregnant or having their period. People affected by migraines may be more likely to experience motion sickness, and are also more likely to have a migraine at the same time as motion sickness.

Symptoms of motion sickness
Symptoms usually begin with feeling sick (nausea), a feeling of discomfort in your upper abdomen and an increasing feeling of being unwell. These symptoms may then be followed by a second, more severe set of symptoms, including: pale skin, cold sweat, dizziness, increased production of saliva and vomiting. Some people also experience additional symptoms, including  rapid shallow breathing, headaches, drowsiness and  extreme tiredness.

Treating motion sickness
Travel sickness is not serious, and usually resolves as your body adapts to the conditions although for some people it persists until the motion causing the condition ceases. Mild symptoms of motion sickness can usually be improved by fixing your eyes on the horizon, while more serious symptoms of motion sickness can be treated with medication such Hyoscine. As an alternative treatment to quell nausea, ginger has been used as a treatment for motion sickness for centuries and can improve motion sickness in some people. It can be eaten in a biscuit or as crystallised ginger, drank as tea or taken as tablets before a journey. You only need to have motion sickness diagnosed if your symptoms continue after you stop travelling, to ensure there are no more serious underlying causes of your symptoms, such as a viral infection of your inner ear. 

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