Why Kids (and Adults) Get Motion Sickness

There is nothing worse than having a sick kid in the back of your car except for maybe having a sick kid on a train or a plane.
All forms of motion sickness happen because there is a lack of balance between the information being fed to the brain by the three parts of the human body where motion is sensed being the eyes, the inner ear and the body. In the labyrinth or inner ear, motion sickness has an adverse effect on your normal sense of equilibrium and balance hence your spatial orientation is also adversely affected.
As an example, when your motion is voluntary (if you are walking or running for instance) the messages being sent to your brain by all three points of reference tie together as what your eye is seeing and your body and vestibular system (the inner ear) are feeling are all in agreement with one another.
However, when the motion is involuntary such as when you are in a plane going through an area of turbulence or on a ship that is rolling in heavy seas, what your eyes are telling your brain and what you are feeling are in direct conflict with one another.
All forms of motion sickness are more likely to occur when complex involuntary movements are involved, with both horizontal and vertical movement together being far more likely to cause airsickness than one or the other on their own. The kind of turbulence that is most often experienced in a plane generally involves up-and-down as well side to side movement, hence the susceptibility of many people to air sickness in turbulent conditions
Although the exact causes of the airsickness are not fully understood, it is generally believed that the imbalance between the messages being sent to the brain from various different parts of the body causes problems with various different neurotransmitters. These are naturally produced chemicals that enable the transmission of ‘signals' throughout the brain and nervous system.
It is believed that an imbalance of neurotransmitters like histamine and norepinephrine is the most likely cause of motion sickness, hence the fact that many medicines that ‘treat' motion sickness contain these particular neurotransmitters which you take in an effort to restore neurotransmitter balance.
The most common symptoms of suffering air sickness are nausea which often leads to vomiting, loss of appetite, cold sweats and pallid skin, lack of concentration, vertigo, headache and increased tiredness.
The good news is that for most people (both adults and children), airsickness is not a serious condition whilst it is one that is likely to cease affecting you once the motion that causes it ceases as well. In the next blog I will explain what the doctors can do for motion sickness.