Dealing with Car Sickness

Written by April Reinhardt (last updated September 5, 2008)

When I was a kid, we moved many times. Yet no matter how far away we moved from relatives, we always traveled to visit with them for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and sometimes Easter. I remember how frustrated Dad was when he discovered that some of my siblings and I were prone to car sickness, especially given the fact the he and Mom were the ones who usually ended up stopping mid-trip to clean the car interior, and to console us when we became sick.

This morning, my husband took me to a doctor's appointment just a few miles from home, and afterwards we stopped at the pharmacy to fill my prescription. On the way home, I started to read the drug insert and stopped abruptly when I started to feel a wave of nausea. Unlike when I was a kid, now I know what triggers my car sickness, and I know not to read while traveling.

Some signs that you are about to be car sick are:

  • Cold sweats.
  • Paleness.
  • Nausea.
  • Headache.
  • Increased saliva.

Car sickness is one classification of motion sickness. Caused by a disturbance in the inner ear, motion sickness affects your sense of balance and equilibrium. Symptoms of car sickness can include dizziness, headaches, and nausea. As in my own case, just seeing things pass in my peripheral vision while looking at a page in my hand can cause car sickness. Some things that you can do to avoid getting car sick are:

  • Take an over-the-counter motion sickness tablet, such as Dramamine.
  • If you're a passenger, avoid reading, close your eyes for a while, listen to relaxing music, recline you seat, or chew gum.
  • Stop frequently and walk around.
  • Drink ginger ale. Ginger has been clinically proven more effective in some people with relieving car sickness than Dramamine.
  • Avoid unpleasant odors such as strong air fresheners in your car, and tobacco smoke.

I have discovered that when I travel in the back seat, I am more prone to car sickness. Sit in the front seat when traveling, or be the driver instead of the passenger. If you experience severe bouts of car sickness, talk with your doctor about prescriptions that may help. Some doctors prescribe motion sickness patches that are worn on the skin, while others recommend antihistamines.

Car sickness should stop once you out of the car for a short period of time. If it doesn't, and if you continue to vomit, feel dizzy, clammy, or have severe headaches, seek professional treatment immediately.

Author Bio

April Reinhardt

An admin­istrator for a mutual fund man­age­ment firm, April deals with the writ­ten word daily. She loves to write and plans to author a memoir in the near future. April attend­ed More­head State Uni­ver­sity to pursue a BA degree in Ele­men­tary Edu­ca­tion. ...


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