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HOW STUFFS WORK: MOTION SICKNESS

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Summer suns and the smell of spring usually call for epic road trips with your buddies that take you coast to coast or at the very least away from the city. Now, for many, getting on an SUV with your buddies and chasing the horizon is the ultimate stress buster. However, for those who suffer from motion sickness, this would mark the beginning of hours of holding back their regurgitating lunch.

Motion sickness is a very common condition that affects many people. Unless you are in control of the locomotion, by driving for instance, motion sickness can get to you in a very unpleasant manner. Here’s why you feel like repainting the interiors of the car with your stomach content when traveling.

WHAT IS MOTION SICKNESS?

Let’s start from the basics. Motion sickness (or kinetosis or gaadi laagne) which is also widely accepted as travel sickness is the feeling you get when the motion you sense with your inner ear is different from the motion you visualize or it is a disagreement between the visual perception and the vestibular system’s (your body’s balancing system) sense of movement. In simpler terms, if you cannot see the motion your body’s feeling, or conversely, if you cannot feel the motion your eyes see confusion ensues and you start feeling queasy.

It is a common condition that occurs in some people who travel by car, train, airplane or boat and to many that get on amusement park rides like the dreaded Columbus and Roti Ping (Ferris Wheel). Motion sickness progresses from a feeling of uneasiness to sweating or dizziness which is quickly followed by nausea and vomiting.

WHO CAN BE AFFECTED?

Anyone can develop motion sickness, but people vary in their sensitivity to motion. Motion sickness most commonly affects children from 2 to 12 years old, pregnant women and people who are prone to migraines.

TYPES OF MOTION SICKNESS

Motion sickness can be categorized into three categories.

  • Motion sickness caused by motion that is felt but not seen
  • Motion sickness caused by motion that is seen but not felt
  • Motion sickness caused when both systems detect motion but they do not correspond

1) MOTION SICKNESS CAUSED BY MOTION THAT IS FELT BUT NOT SEEN

AIR SICKNESS

Air sickness is also one form of motion sickness which is induced while travelling via air. It is similar to car sickness; the only difference is that it occurs in an airplane.

However, some significant differences are that an airplane may bank and tilt sharply and due to the small window sizes, unless the passenger is at a window seat he is likely to see only the stationary interior of the plane.

SEA SICKNESS

Sea sickness is a form of motion sickness characterized by a feeling of nausea and, in extreme cases, vertigo experienced after spending time on a craft on water. It is again the same as car sickness, though the motion of a watercraft tends to be more constant. It is typically brought on by the rocking motion of the craft or movement while immersed in water.

DIZZINESS DUE TO SPINNING

When one spins and stops suddenly, fluid in the inner ear continues to rotate causing a sense of continued spinning while one’s visual system no longer detects motion.

2) MOTION THAT IS SEEN BUT NOT FELT

In these cases, motion is detected by the visual system and hence the motion is seen, but no motion or little motion is sensed by the vestibular system. Motion sickness arising from such situations has been referred to as “visually induced motion sickness” (VIMS).

3) MOTIONS THAT ARE SEEN AND FELT BUT DO NOT CORRESPONDED

Sometimes when riding a vehicle for a long time on a badly maintained road at a very slow (10–20 km/h) speed the two senses fail to correspond. Due to the poor road quality the vehicle will jerk too much giving a sense of severe motion to the inner ear, but due to the slow speed the eye doesn’t sense a proportional amount of motion.

The most common cases of motion sicknesses occur when you travel or are involved in activities that involve constant repetitive motions.

PREVENTING MOTION SICKNESS

The most common cases of motion sicknesses occur when you travel or are involved in activities that involve constant repetitive motions. Here are a few things you can do to prevent or atleast reduce the intensity of motion sickness.

  • Be careful about what you eat before travel. Avoid heavy, spicy or fat rich foods along. It’s a good idea to not consume alcohol before your travels.
  • But don’t travel on an empty stomach either.
  • Reading while traveling is a bad idea if you are prone to motion sickness.
  • Do not sit facing backwards from the direction you are traveling.
  • Choose the right place to sit, more specifically seats that will experience the least amount of motion. Opt for the front seat (passenger seat) of the car. Fresh air also helps, so choose the window seat.
  • Avoid strong smells.
  • Look out of the window of the moving vehicle and to gaze towards the horizon in the direction of travel.
  • Don’t sit to someone else who suffers from motion sickness. Listening to people talking about motion sickness or barfing into a bag doesn’t help with your symptoms.
  • Taking a nap also helps.
  • Y ou can also opt for over the counter pills such as Avomine or Devomine etc that help with the nausea. They might make you drowsy. Always consult your physician before consuming any medicine.
  • Although not locally available, a device used to prevent motion sickness is an elastic wristband containing a small, hard object about the size of a pea. You can also try to apply pressure with your thumb on the area located on the inner arm about 1.5 inches above the crease of the wrist, between the two tendons there. A new device, called the ReliefBand, sends a small electrical current through the same spot. The band sells for $125 through online retailers.
  • Chewing has been known to help with the symptoms. Chewing on some gum or any light snack has been known to help, but it can also go horribly wrong if what you’re chewing “doesn’t agree” with your body.
  • Ginger root is commonly thought to be an effective anti-emetic.

MOTION SICKNESS ETIQUETTES

  • Let the other passengers (or the ones who you are sitting with) about your condition. They then have the option of choosing another seat or letting you have the window seat.
  • Take all the possible precautionary measures you can to suppress the symptoms.
  • Don’t stick your head out of the window to barf. Not only is it unsafe, it leaves a trace of sick on the side of the vehicle. Also, other vehicles driving along side you will not be too happy about the flying vomit.
  • Carry a few bags with you which you can use if you feel like vomiting. Make sure it has no holes in them.
  • Dispose of the used bags responsibly, dropping it out of a moving vehicle is not advised.
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