July 16th, 2008
05:30 PM ET

Slowing down motion sickness

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/07/16/art.flying.sanjay.cnn.jpg caption="Dr. Sanjay Gupta flying with the Blue Angels" width=292 height=219]
Dr. Sanjay Gupta
CNN Chief Medical Correspondent

It’s a curse. It is something I have dealt with as far back as I can remember. And, now I even see it in my 16-month-old daughter. In fact, I was the first to diagnose the reason she absolutely hates riding in her car seat for long rides. Like me, she has what doctors will call a mismatch of her sensory system. Others know it as motion sickness. Awful motion sickness. My first clue was that the video player we thought might help, really made things worse. Have her look out the window and even suck on a little ginger, and she is a new baby.

You may know the feeling. Your heart starts to race, you feel queasy and you start to sweat. It is one of the worst things, and it is often hard to get any relief. The problem is that there is a mismatch between your eyes and your inner ear. If you are in a car, your ear knows you are moving, but unless your eyes are being given constant inputs that confirm that movement, the process of feeling “out of sorts” starts to occur. If you happen to be looking down and reading a book or turning around and looking into the back seat to soothe an upset baby, it gets even worse. For my daughter, looking at a stationary movie picture while her ears are telling us we are barreling down the freeway at 70 miles an hour proves to be just too much. (Watch Video)

The treatments are fairly simple...keep reading

Filed under: 360° Radar • Dr. Sanjay Gupta • Medical News
soundoff (12 Responses)
  1. Jim-

    Dr. Gupta,
    If I'm driving I'm fine but if I'm a passenger & on a twisty curvy road I get sick .If I know I'm going to be in that situation I take a Dramamine.

    July 16, 2008 at 11:58 pm |
  2. Kent Fitzsimmons,Kewanee, IL

    I've had motion sickness problems my whole life. No way can I read when I'm in a car. Or watch a video. I have to concentrate on the road or I feel terrible. Sea sick...........oh yeah. Cannot go on big water..........merry go round........get sick. No way,.........I know my limits.

    July 16, 2008 at 10:57 pm |
  3. Sharon from Indy

    And I thought that NOT getting motion sickness had to do with my father constantly riding the break of his car during my childhood. I feel immuned.


    I don't get air sick, sea sick or amusement park sick but I trip over my own feet quite often.

    July 16, 2008 at 9:26 pm |
  4. Jennifer - Michigan

    *kay, Huntsville, AL
    The cruise ships aren't too bad actually. Once in a while, if the ocean is rough, you can feel the ship swaying a little. I brought some Dramamine with me, just in case. I didn't have to use it though. The cruise ships are so large and they are equipped with automatic stabilizers. It's very nice. I hear the cruise to Alaska is fantastic!!! I would also really like to take that cruise as well.

    July 16, 2008 at 8:17 pm |
  5. Cherisa

    Amusement park rides, airplanes, boats – no problem. But I can't read while riding in a car (torture for a bookworm with hours to kill on long trips). The easiest thing for me to do is stare out the window. Ginger candies help, too.

    July 16, 2008 at 8:14 pm |
  6. kay, Huntsville, AL

    I used to hate travel because besides being hot in Alabama in the summer I also had motion sickness. My parents did not believe in air conditioning for a long time. Our first vehicles did not have it made in the fifties, sixties, and seventies. I did not know what it was to begin with- I only knew I felt sick as a dog. Whenever we went to Birmingham, AL to watch the airplanes and jets take off at my fathers work place I would get sick during the ride then the smells of the industrial city would make it worse. I always felt bad when I could not ride things at the fair because of getting nauseated. I was so glad when I heard of dramamine. I can usually tolerate riding in a car now but still can't do anything like fast amusement park rides. I want to go on a cruise ship to Alaska some day. Are the large ships OK or should I take dramamine?

    July 16, 2008 at 7:34 pm |
  7. Phebe

    I too suffer from motion sickness. I seem to do better on airplanes and in cars then I did as a child, but boats are still a nightmare.

    I also have problems looking through binoculars and telescopes. I can't move them around (while looking through them ) or I have an instant attack.

    July 16, 2008 at 6:42 pm |
  8. Ilona, Tempe, AZ


    my son used to get sick while driving his car, which amused some of his passengers, myself included. I assure you, he didn't think it was funny.
    I'm glad to say his condition has improved

    July 16, 2008 at 6:40 pm |
  9. JC- Los Angeles

    Sanjay, it's refreshing to know that every American will be free from motion sickness since our economy has come to a screeching halt.

    July 16, 2008 at 6:08 pm |
  10. Jennifer - Michigan

    Hi Dr. Gupta,
    I'm very prone to motion sickness too, especially when on our boat when it's not in motion or anchored in rough water. It's no problem when we're under way. I take a Dramamine before we leave the dock if I know we'll be anchoring. My husband and kids do not get motion sickness at all. They are so lucky, no Dramamine for them (just me). Anyway, we really enjoy achoring near the shipping channel to watch the huge freighters go by. It's very fun! We've had some great boating weather lately. See you later. Thanks for all your great reporting!

    July 16, 2008 at 6:04 pm |
  11. EJ (USA)

    Are you more prone to panic attacks too because of this motion sickness? Or is it completely unrelated?

    July 16, 2008 at 5:49 pm |
  12. Larry

    Dr. Gupta,

    How is NASA dealing with it in regards to the shuttle astronauts?

    July 16, 2008 at 5:47 pm |