Motion sickness, more commonly known as carsickness, is a fairly common disorder; it is more common in children but it can also affect adults. Dr. Luca Malvezzi, specialist in Otorhinolaryngology and Facial Cervical Surgery in Humanitas, spoke about motion sickness in an interview with Life, on Rai Radio 1.
“Motion sickness is a disorder of the vestibular apparatus, but not just that; in fact it is connected to a disorder of the parasympathetic nervous system and to some extent there is also an involvement of our psychic attitude towards the disease, which participates in evoking the disorder (the so-called somatization)”, explains the specialist.
Motion sickness occurs when the eyes send contrasting signals to the brain: “The signal that the eye collects and sends to the brain through the processing of the vestibular system, is as if running on a staggered track. Then the brain processes the information with a few thousandths of a second of delay and this determines all the cohort of symptoms that characterizes this annoyance, such as nausea, vomiting and general malaise. Symptoms are triggered by excessive stimulation of the vestibular system of the inner ear during the oscillating or wavy movement of the journey. Our neurological system cannot read these movements correctly,” says Dr. Malvezzi.
Tips for countering motion sickness
Look at the horizon and find a landmark. The landmark actually stabilizes our vestibular system and therefore having a visual contact point helps in symptom control. You should also avoid reading and using smartphones and tablets.
Breathe in fresh air. Where possible, it may be helpful to circulate some fresh air to ensure an air exchange. This also improves the general feeling of uneasiness, as the spoiled car air is a trigger for this. For the same reason, do not smoke in the car.
A small snack before the trip is recommended. It is advisable to have a light snack before traveling, preferring dry foods such as biscuits, crackers, breadsticks, and bread. A snack swabs the stomach juices and reduces the impact of neurovegetative symptoms.
Look for the most stable position. In cars, for example, it is advisable to sit in the front seat, in ships it can be helpful to stay in the open air.