Motion Sickness in Teens: Care Instructions

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Your Care Instructions

Motion sickness is nausea caused by riding in a car, airplane, train, or boat. It can also cause vomiting, sweating, and headache.

Motion sickness is sometimes called carsickness, airsickness, or seasickness. You can also get motion sickness from playing video games, looking through a microscope, or other activities.

Problems caused by motion sickness usually go away soon after the motion stops. Sometimes it can take a few days for symptoms to go away.

Motion sickness can be treated with either over-the-counter or prescription medicine. The medicines come as pills, a patch, or a shot. Some people try ginger or ginger ale to help nausea. Some people also think wristbands that put pressure on a certain spot can reduce motion sickness.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

How can you care for yourself at home?

  • Sit in the front seat of a car or near the wings when you fly in an airplane.
  • Try not to move your head. Keep your head still by pressing it into a headrest.
  • On a boat, get a cabin near the middle of the ship. Go outside often to get fresh air.
  • When in a car, boat, or airplane, look at one place on the horizon.
  • Do not read or watch TV in a moving vehicle.
  • Do not eat a big meal before traveling.
  • Eat small meals during long trips.
  • Try a few soda crackers and a carbonated drink if you feel ill.
  • Try ginger, ginger tea, or ginger ale before you travel.
  • Try an over-the-counter medicine, such as dimenhydrinate (Dramamine), diphenhydramine (Benadryl), or meclizine (Bonine), about an hour before you travel. These medicines can make you feel sleepy. Do not drive while using them.
  • If you get prescription medicine from your doctor, take your medicines exactly as prescribed. Call your doctor if you think you are having a problem with your medicine.

When should you call for help?

Call your doctor now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • You have nausea and vomiting that does not go away after treatment.

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor if:

  • Your symptoms do not go away within 3 days after a trip.
  • You do not get better as expected.

Where can you learn more?

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The Health Encyclopedia contains general health information. Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage or Summary Plan Description. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.