motion sickness, waves of nausea and vomiting experienced by some people, resulting from the sudden changes in movement of a vehicle. The ailment is also known as seasickness, car sickness, train sickness, airsickness, and swing sickness. The principal cause of the disturbance is the effect of motion on the semicircular canals of the inner ear, although other factors such as inadequate ventilation and fumes or noxious odors may contribute. Drugs are available that, when taken beforehand, prevent the occurrence of motion sickness.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.