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A Bump in the Road on Those Road Trips

June 28, 2007
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As summer weather warms up the urge to hit the highways for a road trip, one health ailment can spoil the entire voyage -- car-motion sickness.

If you are buckled in to the car for a long ride, even the slightest and most common physical discomfort can be a sign of motion sickness.

The cause of motion sickness is the abnormal movement of the canals in the inner ear, which help control balance. These canals are accustomed to traveling in a horizontal position; however, when there is vertical movement, or rapidly-changing sensations or visuals, motion sickness and its accompanying nausea can occur and prove quite disorienting.

Of course, suffering from motion sickness isn't the most pleasant feeling in the world, especially when anticipating a fun time. It's even less fun for the one who has to clean up after an accident, if there is one.

If you or somebody you know suffers from motion sickness, these tips may help alleviate or even prevent the symptoms, and make the car ride smooth and enjoyable.

And if you know you've had problems in the past, it's always a good idea to prepare for what may befall you.

· When in a moving vehicle, always sit facing forward. If at all possible, request the front seat from those accompanying you on your road trip. This keeps the motion sensed by your eyes and ears the same.

· Use a headrest to minimize head movements, and crack a window to maintain proper ventilation.

· Look outside at objects that are far away. Whatever you do, try not focus on items out of the side window that pass by quickly, such as trees or telephone poles.

· Distract your mind from thinking about your impending motion sickness, but remember not to read while you're feeling like this. You can even try shutting your eyes and taking a little nap.

· Watch what you eat. Try to avoid bulky, greasy meals and overindulgence in alcoholic beverages if you're going on a long trip; such items may be tempting, but troublesome. Better instead: Small, healthy, frequent meals are recommended for those prone to attacks of motion sickness.

· Make frequent rest stops for short walks in the fresh air, breathing deeply.

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