ZocdocAnswersWhat is the best way to deal with my motion sickness?

Question

What is the best way to deal with my motion sickness?

Every time I fly, I get motion sickness, which I found out through some research is called kinetosis. How can I prevent my motion sickness when I fly? I have to fly often for my job.

Answer

You are absolutely correct - kinetosis is the medical term used to describe motion sickness. I am sorry that you have been dealing with motion sickness for some time, especially since it sounds like your job requires frequent flying. I would first recommend that you see an ENT (Ears, Nose, Throat physician, aka otolaryngologist) or a neurologist to evaluate you and make sure that there are no underlying neurologic disorders that may be contributing to your motion sickness. There are a number of different approaches to managing motion sickness that a physician can use, and to understand the approaches, you must first understand how the balance system works. In very basic terms there are three main systems that contribute to balance; the inner ear, vision, and something called proprioception. The vestibular system (within the ear) can be evaluated in the doctors through different maneuvers. Also vestibular testing is a more thorough examination which will show how well the vestibular system is working. Vision is easily tested by an ophthalmologist (or even optometrist). Lastly the body has sensors in all your joints, and throughout your body that are constantly sending your brain information about the 3-D position of your body parts in space; this is what proprioception is. A neurologist can examine this system to make sure it is functioning properly, as abnormalities can cause imbalance, etc. Once your physician has been able to grossly examine these three systems and determine that they are all grossly normal, there are some medications that can be used to help suppress the feeling of sickness/unsteadiness that can come from kinetosis. I hope that this is helpful and gives you some information. Try starting with an ENT or local neurologist (even a good primary care physician can do a thorough "balance" work-up). Best of luck.

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