Coping with nausea/vomiting
Vomiting sometimes follows nausea and may be brought on by treatment, food odours, gas in the stomach or bowel, or motion sickness. For some people just the thought of treatment makes them feel unwell. If vomiting lasts for more than a day, contact your doctor.
Your doctor can prescribe medication to relieve nausea and vomiting.
How to cope with nausea
- Eat small amounts of easily digestible food often - not eating can make nausea worse.
- Try a small snack such as dry crackers or toast whenever you feel sick.
- Eat and drink slowly. Chew food well.
- Choose cold foods, such as sandwiches, cold meats, salads and cold milk puddings, which are often easier to manage than hot, fried, greasy or spicy foods.
- Avoid strong odours and cooking smells. Staying out of the kitchen when food is being cooked may help.
- Avoid eating your favourite food at this time as you may dislike this food later on.
- Slowly sip cold drinks such as flat ginger ale.
- Suck hard boiled lollies with peppermint or lemon.
- Talk to your doctor about nausea medication.
How to cope with vomiting
- Stage 1: Small sips - If you have persistent vomiting, sip small amounts of liquid as often as possible. Try flat dry ginger ale, cold flat lemonade or Lucozade. Sucking an ice block may also help. If you can’t keep fluids down, and vomiting lasts for more than 24 hours, see your doctor because you may become dehydrated.
- Stage 2: Introduce drinks slowly - If your vomiting has stopped, but you still feel nauseated, try eating small, frequent meals. Start by drinking cold or iced drinks. Make up drinks that are half milk (or skim milk) and half water. Clear soups and jellies may also be easier to tolerate.
- Stage 3: Introduce solid foods - Next try small amounts of solid foods, e.g. plain dry biscuits, toast or bread with honey, jam or Vegemite. Cooked cereals (such as lemon sago or rice), and stewed fruits such as pears or apples are also good. Start drinking milk gradually and in small amounts, or try other dairy foods such as yoghurt.
- Stage 4: Return to normal diet - As soon as you can, increase your food until you are eating a normal diet. Your doctor or dietitian may advise you to take additional nourishment (perhaps supplements) on your good days to make up for the days when you can’t eat properly.
You may find fatty or fried foods difficult to tolerate and it is best to limit them.