AskDefine | Define airsickness

Dictionary Definition

airsickness n : motion sickness experienced while traveling by air (especially during turbulence) [syn: air sickness]

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. nausea brought on by turbulence during flight
  2. motion sickness occuring during travel in an aircraft


Coordinate terms


nausea brought on by turbulence during flight
  • Japanese: 飛行機酔い
motion sickness occuring during travel in an aircraft
  • Japanese: 飛行機酔い

Extensive Definition

Airsickness is a sensation which is induced by air travel. It is a specific form of motion sickness, and is considered a normal response in healthy individuals. Airsickness occurs when the central nervous system receives conflicting messages from the body (including the inner ear, eyes and muscles) affecting balance and equilibrium.
The inner ear is particularly important in the maintenance of balance and equilibrium because it contains sensors for both angular (rotational) and linear motion. Airsickness is usually a combination of spatial disorientation, nausea and vomiting. Experimentally, airsickness can be eliminated in monkeys by removing part of the cerebellum, namely the nodulus of the vermis.

Signs & Symptoms

Common signs and symptoms of airsickness include:
Nausea, vomiting, vertigo, loss of appetite, cold sweating, skin pallor, difficulty concentrating, confusion, drowsiness, headache, and increased fatigue.
  • Although airsickness is uncommon among experienced pilots, it does occur with some frequency in student pilots.
  • diphenhydramine (Benadryl)
  • scopolamine (available in both patch and oral form).
  • ginger capsules
Pilots who are susceptible to airsickness should not take anti-motion sickness medications (prescription or over-the-counter).

Natural Remedies

There are numerous alternative remedies for motion sickness. The most popular are ginger derivatives, such as ginger tea or powdered ginger capsules. When the hosts of the popular American television program Mythbusters tested motion sickness remedies, they found that ginger was one of the most effective non-prescription remedies; however, the clinical study was inconclusive as the sample size was only two, and efficacy over placebo was not proven.


See also

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