Feeling sick (nausea) is common and usually goes away on its own. There are some things you can try that might help.
Things that may help you stop feeling sick
get plenty of fresh air
distract yourself – for example, listen to music or watch a film
take regular sips of a cold drink
drink ginger or peppermint tea
eat foods containing ginger – such as ginger biscuits
eat smaller, more frequent meals
do not eat or cook strong-smelling food
do not eat hot, fried or greasy food
do not eat too quickly
do not have a large drink with meals
do not lie down soon after eating
do not wear clothes that are tight around your waist or tummy
If you're being sick
If you're also being sick (vomiting), you could become dehydrated.
Find out what to do if you're vomiting
Non-urgent advice: See a GP if you:
are feeling sick and do not feel better in a few days
often feel sick (it keeps coming back)
The GP can look for the cause and suggest treatments.
They may prescribe anti-sickness medicine if needed.
Call 111 for advice if you cannot see a GP.
Immediate action required: Call 999 if:
You suddenly feel sick and have:
chest pain that feels tight or heavy
pain that spreads to your arms, back, neck or jaw
shortness of breath
This could be a heart attack.
Common causes of feeling sick
Lots of things can make you feel sick.
Any other symptoms you have may give you an idea of the cause. But do not self-diagnose – see a GP if you're worried.
Possible causes of feeling sick.
Diarrhoea or vomiting
Norovirus or food poisoning
Headache and a high temperature
An infection, such as flu
Heartburn or bloating after eating
Headache and sensitivity to light or sound
Labyrinthitis or vertigo
Other reasons for feeling sick include:
pregnancy (morning sickness)
Do not worry if you're not sure what's causing you to feel sick. Try the things that may stop you feeling sick and see a GP if you do not feel better in a few days.
Page last reviewed: 12 May 2021 Next review due: 12 May 2024
Causes, Multiple Methods To Try
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Nausea is that uncomfortable, queasy feeling you get in your stomach that makes you feel like you’re going to vomit. It may be triggered by a virus, a digestive condition, pregnancy, or even an unpleasant odor.
Many times, it’s unclear why nausea strikes. Whatever the reason, when it hits, you’ll do almost anything to make it go away.
Here’s a list of 16 ways to get rid of nausea. Many nausea remedies don’t necessarily cure the condition, but they may help you feel more comfortable.
If a parent ever told you not to lie down after eating, they were on to something. When you lie flat, gastric juices may rise and increase feelings of nausea and overall discomfort, especially if you have gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
Crunching your stomach may also worsen nausea since it compresses the area and makes you less comfortable in general. When you’re nauseous, try reclining with your upper body elevated, and move around as little as possible.
There’s a reason you see carsick people with their heads practically hanging out of the car window.
Fresh air may ease nausea symptoms in many people, although it’s not clear why. It may get rid of sickening odors, or it may simply help you focus on something other than the nausea.
Try sitting in front of a fan or window at the first sign of nausea, especially if you’re overheated.
A soothing, cool compress placed on the back of the neck could help ease nausea. This is because when nausea occurs, we sometimes seek out remedies that cool our body down to provide relief.
Placing a cool compress on the back of your neck for several minutes can be soothing. It also helps decrease your body temperature which, if high, may cause nausea.
Acupressure is an alternative therapy that involves applying pressure to specific areas on the body to ease different issues.
One literature review of 23 studies suggested that acupressure may have been effective for managing nausea in 16 of those 23 studies, primarily in pregnant people and those undergoing chemotherapy. But more research into other causes of nausea must be done before any conclusions can be made.
The pressure point for nausea is on your inner wrist, about 2.5 inches (6.4 centimeters) down, in between two large tendons. There’s general agreement that pressing on this pressure point for a few minutes may provide some nausea relief.
Talk with a healthcare professional to get more information on acupressure for nausea.
Meditation, the practice of focusing and calming the mind, may help relieve nausea.
One 2015 study in 86 pregnant women experiencing moderate nausea and vomiting found that adding 3 weeks of meditation to their therapeutic plan significantly improved outcomes during and 1 month after treatment.
More studies are needed to definitively conclude if meditation is beneficial for getting rid of nausea.
Deep breathing is a meditation technique. You can also do it on your own to quell stress-related nausea. Breathe in slowly through your nose, hold your breath for three seconds, and slowly breathe out. Repeat several times until your nausea subsides.
Sometimes, managing nausea is simply mind over matter. The more you dwell on your nausea, the more nauseous you’re likely to feel.
The next time nausea comes on, distract yourself by reading a book or watching television. If motion doesn’t make you feel worse, do some light housework or go for a slow walk — anything to get your mind off how you feel.
While this remedy is often recommended, it currently doesn’t have many scientific studies behind it, so it shouldn’t be used in cases of extreme nausea.
If you can’t eat or drink due to nausea, dehydration may occur. Conversely, nausea is also a symptom of dehydration.
When you feel queasy, if possible, sip fluids throughout the day. If straight water turns your stomach, try drinking decaf tea, or water with fresh fruit slices.
Chamomile tea is a popular home remedy for nausea. It has a sedative effect that may help you sleep when you’re nauseous. It may also help ease anxiety.
While some research has looked at the role chamomile may play in easing nausea, much more research is currently needed to understand how it may provide relief.
Chamomile tea bags are available at most grocery stores, natural health stores, and online. Make your own chamomile tea by pouring one cup boiling water over a tablespoon of dried or fresh chamomile flowers. Steep for at least 5 minutes, and strain.
Lemons contain citric acid, a naturally occurring compound thought to aid digestion and soothe the stomach. Try adding freshly-squeezed lemon juice to water and sip throughout the day.
If nausea is due to constipation, drinking warm water with lemon juice may stimulate your bowels. Go easy, though. Ingesting too much lemon juice in a brief period may make nausea worse.
The scent of lemons may also ease nausea, although more studies are needed to confirm this. According to a 2014 study, inhaling lemon essential oil helped reduce nausea and vomiting in pregnant participants.
A 2020 study even suggested that a lollipop with lemon aroma could significantly ease feelings of nausea during pregnancy.
If you don’t have lemon essential oil on hand, simply cut a fresh lemon in half and breathe the scent in.
Ginger is arguably the most popular home remedy for nausea. According to a 2020 scientific review, ginger is suggested to be effective for managing mild to moderate nausea, although more research is still needed.
To help nausea, eat a small piece of fresh or candied ginger. You can also drink ginger tea, which you’ll find in grocery stores, natural health stores, and online.
Make your own ginger tea by pouring 1 cup (237 milliliters) boiling water over a 1-inch (2. 5-centimeter) piece of peeled, fresh, ginger root. Steep for at least 5 minutes, strain if you want, and enjoy.
A recent 2021 study involving 103 hospitalized patients suggested that peppermint oil was an effective remedy for nausea relief. You can take peppermint capsules or drink peppermint tea to experience these benefits.
Look for peppermint tea at grocery and natural health stores or online. Or make your own by pouring one cup boiling water over a heaping teaspoon of fresh peppermint leaves. Steep for at least 5 minutes, and strain to preference.
Inhaling peppermint essential oil may also ease nausea post-operation and after anesthesia according to a 2016 study in heart surgery patients, and a 2020 study in abdominal surgery patients.
There’s an old wives’ tale that drinking carbonated beverages such as ginger ale or cola helps tame tummy troubles. The opposite is often true.
Carbonated drinks may cause bloating and worsen acid reflux and GERD, all of which may cause nausea. Although, the relationship between carbonated beverages and worsening nausea has not been well established by research. In addition, most fizzy beverages may be very sweet, which could make your nausea worse.
If you must drink a fizzy drink, let it go flat or dilute it with water before drinking.
Following a bland diet may help nausea from worsening or prevent you from vomiting. The most common recommended diet for recovering from nausea is the BRAT diet — bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast.
You can also eat small amounts of:
plain pasta or noodles
plain baked or mashed potatoes
Avoid fried foods, dairy products like cheese and milk, meat, and foods high in fiber until nausea subsides.
While the BRAT diet is often recommended, it doesn’t have very many scientific studies behind it. Talk with a healthcare professional for more information on the BRAT diet.
Nausea medications are called antiemetics. When nausea is severe, you may need an OTC medication to help calm and soothe the stomach.
Some options are:
If you’re pregnant, don’t take any OTC medications without consulting your doctor first.
In 2013, the Food and Drug Administration approved Diclegis, a combination of vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) and the antihistamine doxylamine, as a treatment for pregnancy-related nausea.
Vitamin B6 on its own has had mixed results for treating nausea according to a recent review comparing it against ginger or no treatment at all during pregnancy. The typical regimen is between 30 and 100 milligrams daily in one to three divided doses for up to 3 weeks.
Too much vitamin B6 may worsen nausea, however. It may also cause serious side effects, such as:
abnormal heart rhythm
decreased muscle tone
For this reason, only take Diclegis or vitamin B6 for nausea under your doctor’s supervision.
It’s always important to discuss all medications with your doctor while pregnant to avoid those that may interact negatively with you or your child.
Your doctor may recommend other approaches first, as most nausea in pregnancy subsides by the fourth month, or second trimester.
Cannabidiol (CBD) oil comes from an active compound in cannabis. CBD oil doesn’t contain THC, the main cannabinoid in cannabis that alters mental state.
Research is ongoing in human trials and more studies are still needed in larger groups of people with different causes of nausea.
However, some studies have shown promising results. CBD oil is available in many forms, including:
Dosing isn’t regulated and recommendations vary, so read the instructions on the package carefully and check with a medical professional before use. Only use medical-grade CBD oil to treat nausea.
CBD oil isn’t legal in every state, so be sure to check your state’s laws before purchasing or using it, and buy from a reputable source. Some states may allow CBD only with a doctor’s prescription.
When other symptoms accompany nausea, it may be serious. For instance, nausea with chest pain is a classic sign of a heart attack. Nausea with a severe headache or severe dizziness may indicate a neurological issue.
See your doctor if episodes of nausea last more than one month, or you have nausea and unexplained weight loss.
Get emergency help if you have nausea and:
severe abdominal pain or cramping
high fever and stiff neck
Dehydration and nausea often go together. Get prompt medical attention if you have nausea and other symptoms of dehydration such as:
Should I make myself throw up to stop nausea?
Making yourself throw up isn’t recommended for easing nausea. The remedies listed above may be more helpful when it comes to providing relief.
What sleeping position is best for nausea?
There’s no best sleeping position to stop nausea. Talk with your healthcare team if you start to feel like nausea is significantly impacting your sleep.
What helps COVID-19 nausea?
Many of the remedies listed above may help to provide relief if you experience nausea as a possible symptom of COVID-19.
Most nausea is temporary and not serious. Home remedies and OTC medications may help, but sometimes nausea may still lead to vomiting. Vomiting often reduces nausea or makes it go away. However, vomiting and nausea can lead to dehydration.
These remedies are recommended for adults. Because children can get dehydrated much more quickly, bring your child in to see a doctor if they’re vomiting for more than 12 hours.
Many prescription medications can also cause nausea. If you regularly feel nauseous after taking a medication, talk to your doctor to see if another medication is available.
What to do with nausea: 12 simple tips
Fresh air, a piece of ginger and proper breathing will help.
1. Don't lie down
When you lie down, stomach acid can rise up your esophagus, making you feel more sick and uncomfortable. Because of this, it is not advised to lie down immediately after eating, especially if you suffer from acid reflux. Also, try not to squeeze your abdominal muscles so as not to squeeze your stomach. If you feel sick, sit down and move as little as possible.
2. Open a window or sit in front of a fan
This will remove bad odors and distract you. Fresh air relieves nausea. That is why those who are swayed in transport try to lean out of the window.
3. Apply a cold compress
Nausea may cause fever. Place a cold compress on the back of your neck for a few minutes. This will help bring down the temperature and soothe nausea.
This is especially helpful if your nausea is caused by stress or anxiety. Take a deep breath in through your nose, hold your breath for three seconds, and exhale slowly. Repeat several times.
5. Get distracted
The more you think about nausea, the worse you feel. Try distracting yourself with a book or movie. If you're at work, take a few deep breaths and then do something you've been putting off for a long time, like writing a report.
6. Drink more fluids
Nausea can be a symptom of dehydration, but if you drink a lot of fluids at once, the discomfort will only get worse. Drink in small sips throughout the day. If you don't feel like drinking plain water, drink water with pieces of fruit or decaffeinated tea.
7. Drink chamomile tea
Chamomile is a well-known folk remedy for nausea. In addition, it calms and helps to fall asleep. Pour a tablespoon of chamomile flowers with a glass of boiling water, let it brew for five minutes and drink.
8. Smell the lemon
Lemons contain citric acid, which is good for digestion. If nausea is caused by constipation, warm water with lemon juice will help stimulate the bowels. Just do not overdo it - an excessive amount of citric acid can increase nausea.
Even the smell of lemons helps P. Yavari Kia, F. Safajou et al. The effect of lemon inhalation aromatherapy on nausea and vomiting of pregnancy: A double-blinded, randomized, controlled clinical trial / Iranian Red Crescent Medical Journal to get rid of nausea. Smell an essential oil or just a fresh cut lemon.
9. Eat a piece of ginger
Ginger has P. L. Palatty, R. Haniadka et al. Ginger in the prevention of nausea and vomiting: A review / Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition antiemetic properties. For nausea, eat a small piece of fresh or candied ginger, or drink tea with it.
10. Brew mint
Take mint capsules or drink mint tea. The smell of essential oil or fresh mint leaves also helps B. Lane, K. Cannella et al. Examination of the effectiveness of peppermint aromatherapy on nausea in women post C-section / Journal of Holistic Nursing to relieve nausea.
11. Do not drink carbonated drinks
The gases in carbonated drinks can cause bloating and sour belching. And the abundance of sugar in them will only increase nausea. If there is nothing but a carbonated drink, wait until the gases come out of it, and only then drink.
12. Do not eat junk food
Bananas, rice, applesauce are usually advised to recover from nausea. You can also eat some pasta without sauce, mashed potatoes, boiled eggs. Avoid fried, dairy, meat, and fiber-rich foods until the nausea subsides.
Seek medical advice if other symptoms accompany nausea. For example, nausea and chest pain can be a sign of a heart attack. And nausea and severe headache or dizziness may indicate problems with the nervous system.
Be sure to see a doctor if nausea persists for a month or if it is accompanied by unexplained weight loss.
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Acupressure for Pain and Headaches
Time to read: Approximately 2 min.
This information explains how to use acupressure (AK-yoo-PREH-sher) to help with nausea and prevent vomiting. Nausea is the sensation of vomit. Vomiting is the eruption of vomit.
Acupressure is a type of massage. It is based on the traditional Chinese medicine practice of acupuncture (AK-yoo-PUNK-cher). With acupressure, pressure is applied to certain points of the body. Such points are called acupuncture points (AK-yoo-points).
Pressing these points allows the muscles to relax and improves blood circulation. It also helps relieve many of the side effects of chemotherapy, such as nausea and vomiting.
You can do acupressure at home by applying pressure to various acupuncture points with your fingers. To learn how to do acupressure, watch this video or follow the steps below.
This video will show you how to perform acupressure to help relieve nausea and vomiting.
Details on video
Massage point P-6 is also known as nay-gwann. It is located on the back of the hand next to the wrist. Massaging this point helps relieve nausea and prevent vomiting.
Massage of this point is not recommended in the following cases:
The skin at or near the point is scaly or blistered.
Open wound at or near a point.
Rash at or near this point.
Redness, swelling, fever or pus at or near the point.
How to find a massage point P-6
To find the P-6 massage point:
Position the hand so that the fingers are pointing up and the palm is facing you.
Place the first 3 fingers of your other hand on your wrist (see Figure 1). Your fingers should be just below the crook of your wrist.
Place your thumb just below your index finger. Remove 3 fingers from your wrist, but leave your thumb in place (see Figure 2). Press on this place with your thumb. Under the thumb, you should feel 2 large tendons (tissue that connects muscles to bones). This spot between the two tendons is the P-6 massage point.
Once you have found the massage point, you can relax your hand and keep it in a comfortable position.
Figure 1. How to place 3 fingers on the wrist to locate the thumb
Figure 2. How to press the thumb to the point under the index finger
Press this point with your thumb. While pressing, make circular movements with your thumb. You can move it clockwise (right) or counterclockwise (left). Do this for 2-3 minutes.
Some people may find it difficult to use their thumb.