Putting The Brakes On Motion Sickness

Dr. Emily Senay and Harry Smith
CBS/The Early Show
Summer is the time for road trips and amusement parks. This also means it can be the time for experiencing motion sickness.

Medical correspondent Dr. Emily Senay stopped by Monday's The Early Show to talk about why we feel queasy on those long car rides and thrilling roller coasters.

Senay blamed our brain, not our stomach for why we get motion sickness. While you're sitting still when you ride in a car or on a roller coaster, at the same time your body is actually moving at a high rate of speed. Your inner ears, which help maintain balance, and your eyes, may read what is happening differently. The nerves throughout the body also are sensing bumps and vibrations, which in turn may not correspond with what our eyes and ears feel.

The symptoms are queasiness, loss of appetite, dizziness, fatigue, breaking out in a cold sweat, vomiting and turning pale.

Kids between the ages of 2- and 12-years-old are very susceptible to motion sickness. In addition, women are likely to suffer from it more than men, especially if the woman is pregnant or menstruating. People who suffer from migraines also suffer from motion sickness

There are several ways to limit your illness on a road trip. The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests that a child be placed in an approved child seat, facing forward, if he or she is more than a year old and weighs more than 20 pounds. A light snack may also help if the child hasn't eaten for several hours, as hunger pangs worsen car sickness.

Distractions help. Have your child look outside the car rather than read books or play handheld games. This could eliminate the sensory disconnect that comes from feeling motion while concentrating on something that's not moving. Singing, talking or playing music can also be successful diversions.

For adults and children older 12, sitting in the front seat will decrease the likelihood of motion sickness because it offers a smoother ride. In boats, planes and buses, the furthest point forward is the best place to sit.

If you have regular motion sickness, talk with your doctor. An underlying condition may be at work.