Motion sickness

Motion sickness is feeling sick when travelling by car, boat, plane or train. You can do things to prevent it or relieve the symptoms.

Easing motion sickness

Do

  • reduce motion – sit in the front of a car or the middle of a boat

  • look straight ahead at a fixed point, such as the horizon

  • breathe fresh air if possible – for example, by opening a car window

  • close your eyes and breathe slowly while focusing on your breathing

  • distract children by talking, listening to music or singing songs

  • break up long journeys to get some fresh air, drink water or take a walk

  • try ginger, which you can take as a tablet, biscuit or tea

Don't

  • do not read, watch films, or use electronic devices

  • do not look at moving objects, such as passing cars or rolling waves

  • do not eat heavy meals, spicy foods or drink alcohol shortly before or during travel

  • do not go on fairground rides if they make you feel unwell

A pharmacist can help with motion sickness

You can buy remedies from pharmacies to prevent motion sickness, including:

  • tablets – dissolvable tablets are available for children
  • patches – can be used by adults and children over 10
  • acupressure bands – these do not work for everyone

A pharmacist can recommend the best treatment for you or your child.

Causes of motion sickness

The cause of motion sickness is repeated movements when travelling. For example, going over bumps in a car or moving up and down in a boat.

The inner ear sends different signals to your brain from those your eyes are seeing. The confusing messages cause you to feel unwell.


Content supplied by the NHS and adapted for Ireland by the HSE

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This project has received funding from the Government of Ireland’s Sláintecare Integration Fund 2019 under Grant Agreement Number 123.

Page last reviewed: 13 April 2021
Next review due: 13 April 2024