Fight Off Motion Sickness With Cold Air

Fight Off Motion Sickness With Cold Air

We do a lot more travelling than normal during the holidays, and sometimes motion sickness can catch us by surprise. If you find yourself feeling queasy with no meds nearby, focusing on the horizon isn’t your only chance for relief.

Picture: jam343/Flickr

The New York Times recommends several approaches you can take when feeling nauseated in transit. In addition to medication and the soothing properties of ginger, opening a window isn’t a bad idea.

Cooler temperatures might also help, said Dr. Joseph M. Furman, a professor of otolaryngology and neurology at University of Pittsburgh Medical centre, who used to drive with the windows cracked in winter to soothe his son who was in elementary school. If his daughter asked why, he would say, “Do you want your brother to puke or do you want to put on a coat?”

There isn’t a lot of information as to why many people suggest fresh or cold air for motion sickness relief, but aviation medicine site suggests that it may have to do with odours — cool, fresh air gets rid of any scents that might make nausea worse. If nothing else, it’s worth a try the next time you’re feeling a little iffy. Hit the link to read more.

The Taming of the Stomach [New York Times]


  • Only thing that works for me is a stopping getting out and holding my head for half an hour wishing for death. In my 27 years I have tried every single trick and product on the market. Nothing works.

    • Have you been to a doctor for it? It sounds dumb but I met a 30 year old who claimed to have tried everything, except the humble maxalon, a pill that does nothing but fight nausea, because he didn’t want “addictive strong drugs”, which max isn’t.

    • oh man, I feel your pain. It sounds like you have it way worse than me though, so that really sucks.

      Is it when you’re driving? Or only a passenger? I can’t look inside a vehicle, or sit sideways, or backwards on a train/bus. If I do any of those things it’s about 20 seconds until I’m done for. (Makes me a useless navigator on trips!)

      As for the cold air thing – I’ve found this is the very best, and possibly only, solution for me. It has to be cold, and it has to be moving air.

  • As someone that used to suffer from motion sickness (car, boat, plane), I can say true, true and true.
    However, there are a few things I would tweak.
    I don’t care about the horizon – I care about what I’m seeing v/s what I’m feeling, so I look around me to match my motion with what I see. Then, the brain knows that things add up.
    I suspect the cold air works because its fresh, not because its cold. If you put the aircon on its coldest setting, it wouldn’t help much if at all. The window open (which makes it colder) takes away the stuffiness and awful smells – smells make a big difference.
    When I was young, my sister would throw a tantrum if we opened the car windows, so I used to target her if i had to be sick (FYI – she’s still a selfish piece of … to this day).
    Tip for parents: if a child has car sickness, do NOT leave them in the middle back seat, no matter how selfish the other children are. It WILL greatly increase the probability of car sickness.

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