My Experience with Motion Sickness
I was on my way to school and I had boarded a nice ciana bus. The A. C. was working fine. A really nice music was playing in the background. It looked like a trip that anyone would enjoy but I was writhing and turning in my seat. My face was so pale. I felt dizzy, nauseous, and looked and felt like death. My head was pounding and I was sweating even though the A. C. was working. I couldn’t wait to get to my destination but I still had about five more hours to manage with this horror I was experiencing. I felt like crying and worst still, no other person seemed to be experiencing this with me so no other person could relate.
As long as long as I can recall, travelling was always a nightmare for me. Even though I enjoyed going to new places and meeting new people, the process of actually transporting myself to the location was huge ordeal for me. Getting into a car and moving was a painful experience for me. I’d break into a cold sweat. If it were possible for my face to express in colours the state of my mind and body, I’d be all shades of green. Sometimes, I would vomit when I could no longer hold it in. This was always embarrassing and rarely would I see anyone offering comfort. People mostly looked away in disgust and I would feel ashamed.
When I was little, my aunts told me I would outgrow it. I looked forward to adulthood with so much excitement because I was so keen to be rid of this illness. I looked forward to the day that I would get into a car and not feel the slightest spell of dizziness or any nausea but here I am at almost twenty and still suffering from this embarrassing illness.
Many people offered solutions that didn’t really solve much. Some said “take tom tom” and some said “just sleep.” I did lots of things. I even made it a prayer point for myself because I got tired of this mysterious illness. At some point, I felt cursed because no one in my family suffered the unbearable experiences I suffered. Not until recently that I began to make some research on it and found some pretty interesting facts about this mysterious sickness.
What Was Wrong With Me?!
For starters, it is commonly known as motion sickness. Some other terms for it include Kinetosis, travel sickness, seasickness, airsickness, carsickness, simulation sickness, space motion sickness, space adaptation syndrome. This sickness dates back to even the 19th Century. There happens to be a painting from 1841 of some people suffering from sea sickness so it’s not entirely a new discovery and if you experience it or know someone who does or have seen someone who experienced it, you should know it’s not some sort of curse.
Motion sickness is an illness caused by motion during travelling and usually goes away when the motion stops. It’s symptoms include nausea, belching, vomiting, balance disorder, dizziness, headache, pale skin and/or palpitations. If however, these symptoms do not stop after the motion had ended then you should see a doctor. It is estimated that more than one hundred thousand people face this dreadful illness so don’t worry, you’re not alone in this if you have ever felt like it was peculiar to you.
What Causes Motion Sickness?
Now, if you’ve suffered the symptoms listed above, there is every probability that you would like to know the cause and I definitely want to tell you all about it. Motion sickness occurs as a result of conflict among your senses. When your different sense organs are rapidly and simultaneously sensing different things and sending these signals to the brain, your brain finds it difficult to keep up with all these mixed signals which is why you end up feeling dizzy and ill. Take for instance you’re in a car going for a ride, you feel like you’re moving but your eyes tell your brain that you don’t appear to be going anywhere. This results in motion sickness.
Any Cure for Kinetosis?
I’m also sure you’ve probably thought of getting a permanent cure for this illness. Bad news is that there is no way to permanently get rid of motion sickness. Good news is that there are some tips, tricks and medications that can help to blunt it’s effects. Another good news is that it is not contagious which means someone experiencing this sickness can’t pass it to another person.
Tips And Tricks
1. Back to the tips and tricks for reducing the effects of motion sickness, it always helps to stay calm and relaxed during a trip.
2. You can keep your headphones plugged in while you listen to songs that have soothing effects on your mind or you could practice deep and spaced breathing or count 1 to 100 backwards.
3. You can keep your eyes focused on a stable object like the windshield of the car.
4. Staying off alcohol and smoking before a trip helps as well.
5. If you can, getting a window seat helps so you can be close to fresh air.
6. Eat light before a trip and don’t read when you’re traveling.
7. Stay hydrated all through the journey. Water helps alot so carry a water bottle along with you all the time.
Any Remedy At All?
Some natural remedies like taking ginger or mint also help to cushion the effects of kinetosis. They help to relieve nausea. Some medications such as antihistamine, scopolamine, cyclizine, meclizine and promethazine also help in relieving some of the symptoms of motion sickness however they have side effects such as dryness of mouth and drowsiness so it’s advisable to take them according to doctor’s prescription.
I can agree anytime any day that motion sickness is quite embarrassing and you can’t really do much when a victim of this dreadful disease starts to act up but if you’re witnessing it as a spectator, please be kind to the person suffering from it. Offer words or compassion and empathy. Telling them harsh words or giving looks of disgust only makes them feel even more uncomfortable and embarrassed.
For those who often experience the motion sickness, don’t feel worried. Do your best to implement the tips and tricks stated above. Doing our best to sensitize more people on this subject would also be helpful in reducing stigmatization. I’ve done my own bit in sensitizing the world around me, now it’s your turn to do same.
Writer: Amarachi Godswill-Nwankwo
Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun State, Nigeria