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Dizziness/Motion Sickness

Did you know? 

Dizziness is a term used to describe a range of sensations, such as feeling faint, woozy, weak or unsteady. Dizziness that creates the false sense that you or your surroundings are spinning or moving is called vertigo.

Treatment of dizziness depends on the cause and your symptoms. It's usually effective, but the problem may recur.

People experiencing dizziness may describe it as any of a number of sensations, such as:

  • A false sense of motion or spinning (vertigo)

  • Lightheadedness or feeling faint

  • Unsteadiness or a loss of balance

  • A feeling of floating, wooziness or heavy-headedness

These feelings may be triggered or worsened by walking, standing up or moving your head. Your dizziness may accompanied by nausea or be so sudden or severe that you need to sit or lie down. The episode may last seconds or days and may recur.


Call 911 or seek emergency medical help if you experience dizziness with:

  • A sudden or severe headache

  • Ongoing vomiting

  • A sudden change in speech, vision or hearing

  • Stumbling or difficulty walking

  • Fainting

  • Chest pain or an irregular heart rate

  • Numbness or weakness

  • Shortness of breath

  • A high fever

  • A very stiff neck

  • A head injury

  • Seizures

Consult with your doctor if you experience recurrent, sudden, severe dizziness or prolonged episodes of dizziness, faintness, lightheadedness or vertigo.


OTC Treatment Options

1) Meclizine (Dramamine-Less Drowsy) (25-50mg one hour before travel, repeat every 24 hours for motion sickness OR 25mg-100mg daily in divided doses for dizziness)

Common side effects: drowsiness, fatigue, headache, blurred vision


2) Dimenhydrinate (Dramamine) (Motion sickness, nausea/vomiting or vertigo: 50-100mg every 4 to 6 hours with a maximum of 400mg per day; Adult dosing)

Common Side Effects: drowsiness, headache, skin rash, blurred vision

Special Instruction: DO not drive or operate machinery while taking


3) Diphenhydramine (Benadryl) 25mg to 50mg every 6 to 8 hours (take 30 minutes before motion)

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