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Motion sickness, also called seasickness, carsickness, or airsickness
depending on what one has been traveling in, is a condition in which the
endolymph (the fluid found in the semicircular canals of the inner ears)
becomes 'stirred up', causing confusion between the difference between
apparent perceived movement (none or very little), and actual movement. It
can result from lying in the berth of a rolling boat without being able to
see the outside. Nausea is the most common and unpleasant symptom of motion
sickness; in fact, nausea in Greek means seasickness (naus=ship).
Sudden jerky movements tend to be worse for provoking motion sickness than
slower smooth ones, because they disrupt the fluid balance more. A
'corkscrewing' boat will upset more people than one that is gliding smoothly
across the oncoming waves, and cars driving rapidly around winding roads or
up and down a series of hills. Looking down into your lap to consult a map
or attempting to read a book while a passenger in a car is another common
cause of motion sickness.
Many 'cures' and preventatives for motion sickness have been proposed at
various times. One which is both practical and effective is to simply look
out of the window of the moving vehicle and to gaze into the distance
towards the horizon in the direction in which you are moving. This helps to
re-orient your inner sense of balance by reaffirming to your inner ear that
yes you actually ARE moving. Fresh air blowing on your face can also be a relief.
Other cures for motion sickness rely on medication. Over-the-counter and
prescription medications are readily available, eg. dramamine. Ginger is a
mild anti-emetic and sucking on crystalised ginger or sipping ginger tea can
help to relieve the nausea.
Astronauts suffer a form of motion sickness called space sickness, caused by
the lack of gravity disturbing their sense of balance and the endolymph
fluid in their inner ear.