Those of us who suffer from car sickness have likely come to dread the prospect of a long ride on the road. Car sickness is more likely to occur in people who have a genetic predisposition for this condition, although nearly anybody can suffer from it from time to time. However, regardless of whether you suffer from car sickness on a regular basis or have only experienced it occasionally, you should be aware of the cause of this condition and how you can properly treat it. The nausea that is associated with car sickness can be surprisingly potent, and it is enough to make nearly any trip quite miserable. Knowing the right methods of alleviating car sickness could potentially bring you enormous relief the next time you hit the road.
What Causes Car Sickness?
Car sickness is a specific variety of kinetosis (motion sickness). Kinetosis is defined as a condition when the brain’s various sensory systems are thrown off kilter, resulting in neural confusion. For instance, when you are riding in a car, your body’s visual input tells your brain that it is remaining in a relatively still sitting position. However, your ears’ motion sensors will detect the swift motion of the car as it speeds down the road, and your brain will essentially become confused. It mistakes these discrepancies in sensory information as a type of hallucinogenic disorder. Therefore, your body tries to purge itself of any present toxins by vomiting.
Who Gets Car Sickness?
Nearly anyone is prone to car sickness if they spend enough time on the road. However, some people are genetically inclined to be more sensitive to sensory imbalances than others. Children are also far more likely to experience car sickness than adults because their sensory systems are relatively undeveloped.
Your Car Sickness Kit
If you know that you are likely to experience car sickness on an extended road trip, then it is always best to come prepared. You can pack yourself a simple remedy kit that can provide you with much relief in the case that car sickness should strike during your trip.
First of all, you need to bring soothing foods such as ginger and mint. Although you will probably not want to consume these foods, their scent itself can help to calm and relieve your body’s systems. Snacking on these foods before car sickness occurs can also help to stem the effects of nausea. That said, you should also avoid consuming large meal before hitting the road; if you do experience nausea, a relatively empty stomach will be far less likely to become irritated than one that is full of food. The strong odors that are released from stomach acids oftentimes serve to further worsen your nausea. Carbonated water also helps to relieve nausea.
In addition, some people find antihistamines to be very beneficial in eliminating nausea. You can purchase over-the-counter medications to help control your car sickness when it strikes. While such medications should always be taken in limited, controlled quantities, it can never hurt to be prepared with them in the event that you should experience nausea.
What to Do when You Have Car Sickness
When you begin to experience the first symptoms of car sickness, you do not have to immediately administer the aforementioned treatments. A few simple measures can help to get your car sickness under control before the worst hits you.
First of all, you should recline as much as possible and lay quietly with your eyes closed. This will eliminate your brain’s confusion regarding its visual and its motion sensory input, as it will only be able to detect the forward movement of the car. If you catch your car sickness quickly enough, then this should be enough to prevent it from progressing further.
However, if this is not successful, there are other actions that you can take. You should open all the car’s windows in order to get as much ventilation inside as possible. If necessary, take a break from the road so that you can stretch your legs and help your body’s systems to become realigned. In the case that illness becomes unavoidable, you should try not to vomit inside the car.