Air sickness is a common problem many persons undergo during flight travel. Although the problem seems simple enough, it is not so as rightly agreed by people who live with it. This is because air pressure inside a passenger aircraft is equivalent to mild altitude exposure. It is a bothering issue for all those who suffer from it. Air sickness affects them every time they embark on a flight travel. To put it rather crisper, we tell you that air sickness is caused when the motion of an airplane causes nausea, vomiting and dizziness in a person. This aggravates for people who are particularly sensitive to movement. Air sickness arises due to a conflict between what is seen and what balance is sensed by your inner ear senses. Air travel comprises of both horizontal and vertical movement. Our brain receives such confused signals and messages which gives rise to air sickness. The flight traveller appears to be moving and shaking in some ways although he appears to be sitting still even while being moved. Air sickness is more common among infants, children from 3 years to 12 years and the elderly persons.
Today all the air carriers have competently handled this common problem by stocking adequate materials for tackling air sickness in passengers, pilots and staff during mid flight mode. Moreover there are up to date instructions being given by the on board flight hostess and steward, thus educating fellow passengers about the way the air sickness bag needs to be used. A lot of people experience this problem when they first begin to fly. So next time, you feel dizzy while the plane takes off just relax. Do not panic and allow your body to adjust to the moving elements involved with flying an airplane.
Getting to know Air Sickness
Air sickness is the outcome of the body’s reaction to different signals it tries to interpret during mid air. While the fact remains that during such time we are inside a moving plane, our vestibular system senses movement in one way while the brain interprets a lack of movement from what the eyes see. Your eyes are adjusting to the movement as though you are hardly moving. More particularly the inner ear reacts more to the actual movement in relation to gravity and sends instructions to the brain about what is being felt at that time. This causes the brain to receive so many signals being received at the same time that get contradictory with what is being felt and seen. The result of such confusion in signals taking in the brain contributes to increased nausea, giddiness and ear discomfort while the plane takes to the skies.
How can one know one is experiencing acute Air Sickness?
Some of the very prominent symptoms of air sickness are as follows
• Increased salivation
• Incapacitation if the problem gets too severe
Trying to know if one is prone to Air Sickness
People who are very sensitive to movements are more prone to air sickness. Women and kids can get more susceptible to air sickness. Also passengers who very rarely travel by flight and inexperienced pilots can also fall prey to air sickness. The problem gets worse when people who are not familiar to flying conditions are more vulnerable to fall sick during flying.
Here are some check list that can make a person more susceptible to air sickness.
• Suffering from some form of illness
• Undergoing some medication for some ailment
• Too much of stress and anxiety
• Under the constant influence of alcohol
However air sickness is something that cannot be cured but there are ways to prevent the problem.
Some handy tips that shall help to deal with air sickness.
• Select a seat near the wing of the aircraft. This will help you sense minimized amount of movement when the plane is flying. Air sickness is likely to occur in areas of the plane in which one feels more movement.
• While making the booking you can ensure the type of the air craft or the size of the plane that is going to be used for flight. If it is a smaller plane you are going to face more turbulence and movement. While larger planes are equipped with stabilizers that can reduce excess motion to negate the impact of air sickness in passengers.
• Carry some ginger chocolate in your hand baggage. In case you start feeling motion sickness during flight, you can just have the ginger candy in your mouth that can help you to get your stomach at ease.
• Stay hydrated by taking more juices and drinking water during flight. The aircraft humidity is usually less than 20% according to the Aerospace Medical Association. Avoid taking caffeinated beverages as that can cause rapid loss of fluids from the body.
• Choose a window seat. Looking through the window at the horizon may help reduce dizziness.
• Avoid eating a heavy meal before boarding the flight. Taking large meals may only increase the chances of getting air sick.
• Keep your head against the headrest provided in your seat while you are flying. This can minimize the chances of getting air sick.
We also have some valuable insights from Robert M Stern, PhD who is a distinguished professor at Penn state University. Professor Stern has been studying on Air Sickness for the past 15 years. He states that the reason for people to suffer from air sickness is caused due to a sensory mismatch. Our body’s vestibular system helps to regulate motion and balance. The optic nerve sends corresponding signals to the brain. Anything that causes an imbalance into this system of working can lead to motion sickness. Commonly the cabin pressure varies with cruising altitudes and the type of the aircraft. It is interesting to know how our body reacts to and works at altitudes. Flight regulations and norms prescribe a mandate 10,000 ft cabin altitude that needs to be maintained for all commercial passenger aircraft. Any person who is not acclimatized to such altitudes ranging between 7000 ft to 10,000ft would feel symptoms of mild hypoxia after a couple of hours on flight.
We can attribute similar reasons when kids travel in the car. The father drives the car and the mother sits next to him. The little kid is made to sit in the rear seat. The child is able to see just the back of the front seat. As far as the child’s sense is concerned the back of the front seat is just at the same distance form him. But however through the vestibular system in the inner ear, the child is able to feel and hear all the turns in the road, the acceleration etc. Even the same happens while reading a book or paper while travelling in the car. The eyes are seeing the page that is 10 inches away from the reader but at the same time the later is able to pick up all the movements through the vestibular system.
You can seek medical advice if the problem persists even after you have stopped traveling.