What Causes Motion Sickness?
Your brain can’t take in all those mixed signals. That’s why you end up feeling dizzy and sick.
The Role of the Ears
Your inner ears, in particular, help control your sense of balance. They are part of a network called the vestibular system. This system includes three pairs of semicircular canals and two sacs, called the saccule and the utricle. They send information about what’s going on around you to the brain.
The semicircular canals hold a fluid that moves with the turns of your head. The saccule and utricle are sensitive to gravity. They tell the brain whether you’re standing up or lying down.
The Role of the Brain
Your brain takes in all this data, and it usually comes together and makes sense. But sometimes your brain gets confusing signals.
On a flying plane, for example, you feel like you’re moving, but your eyes tell your brain that you don’t appear to be going anywhere. The opposite is true as well. After a long sea voyage, you can stand still on dry land but still feel like you’re moving.
The result is the same: motion sickness.
Who Gets It?
Anybody can get motion sickness, but it’s most common in children and pregnant women. Unlike a cold, you can’t spread it to other people. It’s not contagious.
Motion sickness can strike quickly and make you break out in a cold sweat and feel like you need to throw up. Other common symptoms include:
- Increase in saliva production
- Loss of appetite
- Pale skin
In addition, some people get headaches, feel very tired, or have shallow breathing