Signs and Symptoms of Motion Sickness

The first sign of motion sickness usually is upset stomach (queasiness) or nausea. Young children who are unable to express this feeling may become fussy, pale, and restless. Children who are motion sick often become tired and fall asleep.

Other signs and symptoms of motion sickness during travel include the following:

  • Becoming overheated
  • Dizziness (vertigo)
  • Excessive yawning
  • Lack of interest in eating and drinking
  • Slight headache
  • Sweating
  • Vomiting

Contact a physician as soon as possible if a child who has not been ill, has not recently traveled, and has not been involved in a moving activity develops these symptoms of motion sickness.

Motion Sickness Complications

Rarely, severe cases of motion sickness can result in dehydration (lack of fluid in the body) caused by vomiting, sweating, and inadequate fluid intake. Infants and young children are more susceptible to dehydration than older children, adolescents, and adults.

Symptoms of dehydration include dry mouth, inability to produce tears, low urine output, sunken soft spot (fontanel; in infants), and lethargy. If you suspect dehydration, contact a physician as soon as possible. Severe dehydration is a life-threatening emergency.

If additional symptoms develop, such as severe headache, blurred vision, hearing loss, inability to speak clearly or walk normally, or loses consciousness, call a physician or dial 911 immediately. These symptoms may indicate a neurological condition or other illness that requires medical treatment.

Publication Review By: Stanley J. Swierzewski, III, M.D.

Published: 27 Aug 2008

Last Modified: 25 Sep 2015