Motion Sickness: What Is It? - CARiNG Pharmacy

Motion Sickness: What Is It?

Cuti-cuti Malaysia, what’s holding you back?

Cuti-cuti Malaysia campaign has been a success throughout the years since its introduction in 1999. The launching of this campaign is to encourage Malaysian to prioritize local holiday destinations. During the introduction, our ex-Culture, Arts and Tourism Minister Datuk Paduka Abdul Kadir Sheikh Fadzir emphasized the importance of domestic travel, it helps to improve the quality of life among the people while increasing local currency circulation in the local market.1

There is always something that bothers us when we are having fun. Not just Motion Sickness that is commonly faced by many, and now there is this – COVID-19. However, with the appropriate standard of procedure to be followed, and measures to be taken, we can still enjoy our Cuti-cuti Malaysia!



Safety is always the priority during travel, especially during this pandemic. 

We are all advised to strictly follow Kementerian Kesihatan Malaysia’s instructions at all times:

Avoiding 3C

  • Crowded place
  • Confined place
  • Close conversation

Practicing 3W

  • Wash (With soap and water/sanitizer)
  • Wear (Facemask in public places)
  • Warn (To strictly follow SOP as instructed)


What is motion sickness?

It occurs due to the difference between actual and expected motion. This condition is characterized by the feeling of un-wellness brought on by certain kind of movements, commonly triggered when traveling in car, train, bus, airplane, boat or ship. 2


Are you at risk?

About 1 in 3 people are considered highly susceptible to motion sickness. However, almost everyone will become motion sick if exposed to motion that is intense enough.2 

Children between the ages of 2 and 12 are most likely to suffer from motion sickness. Pregnant women also have a higher likelihood of experiencing this kind of inner ear disturbance.3 People who have migraines, including a balance disorder called vestibular migraine, have a higher risk of motion sickness than those who do not have these conditions.2


How do we know?

The usual symptoms include dizziness, pale skin (pallor), and sweating, followed by nausea and vomiting. Affected individuals may also experience rapid breathing (hyperventilation), headache, restlessness, and drowsiness.2


Ways to deal with it, treatment and prevention

This condition can be prevented and treated. It can be done non-pharmacologically, or with medications dispensed by pharmacists. 

Tips for prevention

  • Always plan ahead when booking a trip. If traveling by air, ask for a window or wing seat. Sit toward the front and try to avoid facing backward on trains, boats, or buses. Ask for a cabin at water level and close to the front or the middle of the vessel on ship. Open a vent for a source of fresh air if possible. Most importantly, avoid reading.
  • Sitting at the front of a car or bus, or doing the driving yourself, often helps. Many people who experience motion sickness in a vehicle find that they don’t have the symptoms when they’re driving.
  • Make sure to get adequate rest the night before traveling and avoid drinking alcohol. Dehydration, headache, and anxiety all lead to poorer outcomes if you’re prone to motion sickness.
  • Stay away from greasy or acidic foods before and during your travels. Spicy food has always been Malaysian’s favourite but we have to resist the temptation at times. Nasi lemak, tomyam, food like these takes longer time for our stomach to digest and hence worsen motion sickness.


Medicines available from pharmacists:

1.Dimenhydrinate 50mg 4

Mechanism of action: Related to their central anticholinergic actions. They diminish vestibular stimulation and depress labyrinthine function. It is a competitive antagonist at the histamine H1 receptor, which is widely distributed in the human brain. This also possibly leads to the anti-emetic effect of Dimenhydrinate.

Side effect (common):  Drowsiness, headache, blurred vision and dry mouth. 5

2. Meclizine 25mg + pyridoxine 50mg 6

Mechanism of action: Has multiple properties such as anti-histamine, anti-cholinergic, anti-emetic, anti-spasmotic, and CNS depressant effect. This drug depresses labyrinth excitability and conduction in vestibular-cerebellar pathway. It can be used for motion sickness due to its central anti-cholinergic and CNS depressant properties. 

Side effect (common): Drowsiness, dry mouth, headache and GI disturbances. 

Please consult your healthcare provider regarding the dosage before taking this medicine. 

Everyone can now enjoy their own ‘Cuti-cuti Malaysia’ with all these tips. 

Most importantly is to follow 3C/3W from KKM at all times. We all bear the responsibility to eliminate this pandemic together, as a Malaysian, as a human being. Stay safe, drive safe.




  1. Malaysia’s government launches new ‘Cuti-Cuti Malaysia’ campaign [Internet]. Traveldailynews.Asia. 2007 [cited 24 July 2020]. Available from:
  2. Motion sickness [Internet]. Genetics Home Reference. 2020 [cited 24 July 2020]. Available from:
  3. Motion Sickness | Definition & Patient Education [Internet]. Healthline. 2016 [cited 24 July 2020]. Available from:
  4. Dimenhydrinate – DrugBank [Internet]. 2005 [cited 24 July 2020]. Available from:
  5. Dimenhydrinate Side Effects [Internet]. 2020 [cited 24 July 2020]. Available from:
  6. Veloxin Dosage & Drug Information | MIMS Malaysia [Internet]. 2020 [cited 24 July 2020]. Available from: