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January 2011



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Treating Nausea: 12 Common-Sense Tips 

Nausea isn’t inevitable. You can minimize the most common causes — motion sickness, medications, and tainted food. And if a bout of nausea strikes, you can takes steps to relieve it. Follow these 12 tips.

Avoiding nausea …

  • Eat smaller, more frequent meals at a slower pace. This will allow your stomach to digest foods at a reasonable rate.

  • Be careful what you eat, especially while traveling in foreign or tropical locales. Don’t eat raw or undercooked meat or seafood or food that appears to have been sitting out for a long time. In countries with poor sanitation, don’t drink tap water or consume any fruits or vegetables that you can’t peel or boil before eating.

  • Wash your hands frequently to cleanse away any bacteria or viruses.

  • Monitor your medication use closely, particularly when you first start taking a drug, to see if it causes stomach upset. Often the nausea will go away within a few days or weeks of taking the medication. If nausea doesn’t go away, talk with your doctor.

  • Avoid nausea by sitting in the front seat of a car, if possible, and don’t read while riding.

  • If you’re in a boat, focus on a stationary object on the horizon and stay in the midsection of the ship, where it’s most stable. On a train, sit facing the direction in which the train is moving.

  • Over-the-counter nausea drugs such as dimenhydrinate (Dramamine) and meclizine (Bonine) or the prescription medication scopolamine, which is available as a patch (Transderm Scop) or pill (Scopace), should be taken 30 to 60 minutes before you get in the vehicle to avoid nausea.

Treating Nausea ..

  • Rest. Activity can make your nausea worse, so rest as much as possible. If you’re experiencing motion sickness, stay as still as possible and get out of the vehicle as soon as you can.

  • Sip clear fluids to settle your stomach. Chamomile, lemon balm, or ginger tea as well as ginger ale are good choices for nausea. If you’re vomiting, suck on ice cubes and drink water, broth, or sports drinks like Gatorade to prevent dehydration.

  • Avoid strong food odors. Many odors can worsen nausea, so avoid cooking, grocery shopping, or going to a restaurant.

  • Eat bland foods, like crackers or dry toast, to absorb excess stomach acid. You should also avoid fatty, acidic, or spicy foods, which can upset the stomach further. Wait about six hours after the last time you vomited to eat solid food.

  • Take antacids (Maalox, Rolaids, Tums) to neutralize stomach acid or bismuth subsalicylate (Kaopectate, Pepto-Bismol) to coat your stomach. Talk with your doctor if you’re taking prescription medications or aspirin; bismuth contains a drug similar to aspirin, so you could be taking a double dose without knowing it.

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