Preventing Motion Sickness

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People dressed in hiking gear on the edge of a boat looking out over water, with land in the distance.

What Is Motion Sickness?

Motion sickness is caused by fluid movement in your inner ear, which controls your sense of equilibrium. Once your inner ear acclimatizes to motion over time or with the help of medication, symptoms disappear.


  • lightheadedness and dizziness
  • nausea and vomiting
  • sweating and yawning

Preventing Motion Sickness

If you know you're prone to motion sickness, you can do some things to help prevent its onset.

  • Choose a Seat With the Least Motion—In boats and planes, sit in the middle where there is the least motion. In cars and buses, sit as close to the front as possible.
  • Keep Your Eyes on a Steady Point—Don't watch the scenery rush by. Fix your eyes on a steady point in the distance, or focus on an object in the vehicle. On boats, keep your eyes on the horizon.
  • Get Fresh Air—If possible, get some fresh air blowing on your face.
  • Try to Sleep—While sleeping may be the last thing on your priority list, a nap can allow your mind to focus on other things or on nothing at all.
  • Don't Read—It will only make your symptoms worse.
  • Avoid Alcohol and Greasy Foods—These will also make your symptoms worse.

Treating Motion Sickness

Options for treating motion sickness include medicine and natural remedies.

Natural Remedies

  • Wrist Band—An acupressure wrist band such as the Sea Band® has a small plastic button that presses on an acupressure point on your wrist to relieve motion sickness symptoms.
  • Ginger—Some studies have shown that ginger reduces the effects of motion sickness. You can eat either ginger hard candy, gingerbread or ginger capsules.
  • Crackers and Cola—Some people find that eating soda crackers and drinking cola can help.


  • Pills—Meclizine (Antivert®, Bonine®) or dimenhydrinate (Dramamine®) should be taken one hour before motion begins in order to be most effective. Side effects include drowsiness.
  • Patches—Scopolamine patches (Transderm Scop®) are worn behind the ear. They should be applied at least three hours before the onset of motion and are effective for up to three days. Side effects include drowsiness and blurred vision.