Motion sickness: the advice of a specialist

Interview with Dr. Loïs Bonne, Head of ENT Department at the Clermont-Tonnerre Army Training Hospital in Brest.

Why is motion sickness sometimes considered a serious illness?

It is a benign disease for ordinary people, but for transport professionals, such as sailors for example, it can be very disabling. There may be performance issues related to disinterest in the task created by motion sickness. Prolonged crossings can cause severe dehydration that sometimes requires medical evacuation.

Can we know in advance who will suffer from motion sickness?
Unfortunately, we are unable to know in advance who will be ill and who will be able to adapt.

Is there a psychological factor?

People who are more emotional, who are prone to vagal discomfort, syncope, are more susceptible to motion sickness. It is not a psychological disease, but anxiety can accentuate it. Other factors may also come into play such as unpleasant odors or fatigue.

What advice could you give to prevent motion sickness?

You must be rested, do not have an empty stomach, eat and hydrate properly. Do not read, but use the "visual crutch": that is to say look on the horizon, a fixed point, and stay closer to the center of gravity of the vehicle. We must also be interested in driving: the driver is rarely ill because he anticipates the movements. You have to drink sugary drinks, regularly and in small sips, and manage your breathing well.

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