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Who can get motion sickness?

Motion sickness is especially common in children, and it is more common in women than in men. However, anyone can get motion sickness and most people have experienced it at one time or another.

Evidence suggests that motion sickness affects as many as:

  • 33%-50% of passengers on a plane flight with heavy turbulence
  • 100% of cruise ship passengers in rough seas
  • Approximately 28% of passengers traveling by bus
There are several factors that may affect your likelihood of experiencing motion sickness.

There may be a genetic component, so if you have relatives who experience motion sickness, you are more likely to struggle with it as well. Also, if you've experienced motion sickness in the past, you are more likely to experience it during future travels or trigger exposures.

Long, rough travel by boat, plane, car, bus or train, as well as travel that includes lots of directional changes or variations in speed, will increase the chance of symptoms. Exposure to unpleasant odors or fumes and/or poor ventilation also bring about the likelihood of motion sickness symptoms.

Although they do not trigger motion sickness, feelings of fear or anxiety are known to lower the threshold for motion sickness symptoms.

Certain conditions that may increase a person's risk of experiencing motion sickness include:
  • pregnancy and menstruation
  • illness or poor health
  • a hangover
  • being overly tired

Finally, any medications that list nausea or vomiting as potential side effects, such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, estrogens or antibiotics, may make motion sickness symptoms more likely.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.