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Travel Sickness (Motion Sickness)

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Motion sickness is feeling sick when you travel by car, boat, plane or train. It is caused by repeated movements when travelling, like going over bumps in a car or moving up and down in a boat.

The inner ear sends different signals to your brain from those your eyes are seeing. These confusing messages cause you to feel unwell.

There are things you can do to prevent it or relieve the symptoms.

Managing your condition/ How can I avoid triggers


  • Minimise motion – sit in the front of a car or in the middle of a boat
  • Look straight ahead at a fixed point, such as the horizon
  • Breathe fresh air if possible – for example, by opening a car window
  • Close your eyes and breathe slowly while focusing on your breathing
  • Distract children by talking, listening to music or singing songs
  • Break up long journeys to get some fresh air, drink water or take a walk
  • Try ginger, which you can take as a tablet, biscuit or tea


  • Read, watch films or use electronic devices
  • Look at moving objects, such as passing cars or rolling waves
  • Eat heavy meals, spicy foods or drink alcohol shortly before or during travel
  • Go on fairground rides if they make you feel unwell

How do I treat?

You can buy medication from pharmacies to prevent motion sickness, including:

  • Tablets – there are many different brands available on the market, dissolvable & chewable tablets are available for children
  • Patches – can be used by adults and children over 10 years old
  • Acupressure bands – these don’t work for everyone, but you may wish to try them

Speak to your pharmacist for advice if you’re not sure which type of medicine is best for you or your child.

When should I seek advice?

If advised by your pharmacist or other healthcare professional; some medications or conditions may mean you cannot buy mediation for travel sickness over the counter. Your pharmacist can advise you if you ask.

Where can I get more information?

  • NHS Choices –
  • Your local community pharmacy
Last Updated: Monday 22nd May 2023 - 10:59:am

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