DESCRIPTIONMotion sickness is an unpleasant, temporary disturbance that occurs while traveling. It is characterized by dizziness and stomach upset. The semicircular canals in the inner ear are involved. These fluid-filled canals maintain balance.
Appropriate health care includes:
Physician's monitoring of general condition, and medications, and treatment, if your child has a chronic illness that may be worsened by vomiting.
Psychotherapy or counseling, if your family's lifestyle requires travel and your child usually develops motion sickness.
SIGNS & SYMPTOMSLoss of appetite.
Nausea and vomiting.
Weakness and unsteadiness.
Travel by any means, especially airplane, boat, or car. Irregular motion causes fluid changes in the semicircular canals of your child's inner ear, which transmit signals to the brain's vomiting center.
Smoky environment or poor ventilation.
Excess alcohol consumption.
PREVENTING COMPLICATIONS OR RECURRENCEInstructions for your child:
Don't eat large meals or drink alcohol before and during travel.
Sit in areas of the airplane or boat with the least motion.
Recline in your seat, if possible.
Breathe slowly and deeply.
Avoid areas where others are smoking, if possible.
On an airplane or bus, turn on the overhead air vent to improve air circulation.
Take medication to prevent motion sickness -1/2 hour before you travel.
Some airlines have developed behavior-modification techniques for those who are afraid to fly or have motion sickness. Contact the airline or your travel agent for information.
Your own observation of symptoms.
Medical history and physical exam by a doctor if motion sickness is recurrent and interferes with your child's life.
Dehydration from vomiting.
Falls and injuries from unsteadiness.
Spontaneous recovery when the trip is over.
HOME CAREPsychological factors contribute to motion sickness. Try to resolve your child's concerns about travel before leaving home. Maintain a positive attitude.
MEDICATIONFor minor discomfort, use non-prescription drugs, such as dimenhydrinate (Dramamine), before and during travel.
Your doctor may prescribe scopolamine to control symptoms.
See Medications section for information regarding medicines your doctor may prescribe.
To minimize symptoms during travel, urge your child to rest in a reclining position and gaze at a distant object.
DIET & FLUIDS
Your child should eat lightly or not at all before and during brief trips. For longer trips, encourage frequent sipping on beverages--not large drinks -- to maintain fluid intake.
OK TO GO TO SCHOOL?Yes.
CALL YOUR DOCTOR IF
You plan to travel and your child has had disabling motion sickness in the past.