How to avoid air sickness

Air sickness is a common ailment for many travellers, but there are some simple actions you can take to help avoid the problem.

For some people, the fear of being ill on a flight is worse than the fear of flying. The first thing to do when battling air sickness is to understand what it is and what causes it.

Air (or motion) sickness occurs when your inner ear detects movement that your eyes aren’t registering. This works in reverse too. If your eyes catch movement that your body doesn’t detect, say when you’re watching a particularly bumpy movie scene, you can get motion sickness without even moving.

This imbalance can cause a number of symptoms including cold sweats, pale skin, headaches, dizziness, nausea, increased salivation, fatigue and vomiting. Here are some tips to help you overcome air sickness and to make your flight more comfortable.

Eat the right foods

  • Be careful what you eat prior to the flight
  • Avoid high-calorie or salty foods as these can cause dehydration
  • Drink plenty of water before and during the flight
  • Drink ginger ale or ginger beer as it’s good for digestion

Focus on the horizon

  • Focus on a stable scene or horizon line when experiencing motion sickness
  • Avoid reading
  • Try closing your eyes and listening to music

Pick your seat carefully

  • Use the overhead air vent to give you a stream of “fresh” air and provide relief from anxiety, nausea or claustrophobia.
  • If you can choose your seat, select one close to the front or over the wing. The further towards the back you are, the more turbulence you feel.

Try acupressure

  • Push your thumb into your wrist about five centimetres down from the crease of your wrist. Hold it down using different pressure strengths to work out what’s best for you.
  • Acupressure is the act of stimulating various pressure points on your body to better circulate the flow of energy throughout the body.

You can also ask your doctor or pharmacist for a prescription or over-the-counter drug to take, in case nothing else works for you.