Your brain, not your stomach, tells your body when to vomit. Vomiting is often your body’s way of purging a contaminated substance. It’s also possible to feel queasy and not vomit. Although in some cases, nausea goes away after vomiting.
1. Try deep breathing
Take deep breaths by breathing air through your nose and into your lungs. Your abdomen should expand as you breath in. Exhale slowly through your mouth or nose and relax your belly after each breath. Repeat this several times. You can use the image below to help pace yourself.
Research shows taking deep, controlled breaths from the diaphragm activates the parasympathetic nervous system. This helps keep the biological response that causes motion sickness in check. Deep breathing also helps calm anxiety that may occur when you’re feeling sick.
2. Eat bland crackers
Dry crackers like saltines are a tried-and-true remedy for morning sickness. It’s thought they help absorb stomach acids. For morning sickness, try eating a few crackers about 15 minutes before getting out of bed to help settle your stomach. Other bland foods like dry toast or white rice are also good to eat while recovering from a stomach bug.
3. Wrist acupressure
Acupressure is a popular traditional Chinese medicine remedy. It uses pressure to stimulate certain points on the body to relieve symptoms. Applying pressure to pressure point Neiguan (P-6), a spot on the palm side of the forearm near your wrist, may help relieve nausea and vomiting.
To massage this pressure point:
1. Place three fingers across the wrist.
2. Put your thumb under your index finger.
3. Rub this point in a firm, circular motion for two to three minutes.
4. Repeat on the other wrist.
4. Drink more fluids
If you’re vomiting a lot, it’s critical to drink plenty of fluids to help prevent dehydration, even if you vomit some of them back up. Sip the fluids slowly. Drinking too much when your stomach is upset may cause more vomiting.
Fluids that help keep you hydrated and may ease nausea are:
- ginger ale
- mint tea
You can also suck on ice chips to stay hydrated.
5. Try ginger, fennel, or cloves
Try sipping a cup of warm ginger tea when nausea strikes. Or slowly eat a small piece of fresh ginger root or candied ginger. According to a 2016 study, ginger is safe and effective for preventing and treating nausea and vomiting in pregnant women and people undergoing chemotherapy.
You can also make fresh ginger tea by adding a teaspoon of freshly-grated ginger root to one cup of boiling water. Steep for 10 minutes, and strain before drinking.
Fennel seeds are thought to help calm the digestive tract. But scientific studies on fennel for vomiting are lacking. Still, anecdotal evidence suggests it may be worth sipping a cup of fennel tea the next time nausea strikes.
To make fennel tea, add about a teaspoon of fennel seeds to one cup of boiling water. Steep for 10 minutes and strain before drinking.
Cloves are a folk remedy for nausea and vomiting caused by motion sickness. They also contain eugenol, a compound thought to have antibacterial abilities. To make clove tea, add one cup of boiling water to a teaspoon or so of cloves. Steep for ten minutes, and strain before drinking.
To practice aromatherapy, try deep breathing with an open essential oil bottle or add a few drops to a cotton ball. You can also add the oil to a room diffuser. If you don’t have lemon oil, try cutting open a fresh lemon and inhaling its scent.
Other scents that may ease nausea are:
7. Medications to stop vomiting
Over-the-counter (OTC) medications to stop vomiting (antiemetics) such as Pepto-Bismol and Kaopectate contain bismuth subsalicylate. They may help protect the stomach lining and reduce vomiting caused by food poisoning.
OTC antihistamines (H1 blockers) such as Dramamine help stop vomiting caused by motion sickness. They work by blocking H1 histamine receptors responsible for stimulating vomiting. Side effects of antihistamines may include dry mouth, blurred vision, and urinary retention.
How to stop
vomiting in children
Keep your child lying on their side to minimize the chance of them inhaling vomit into their airways. It’s important to watch for dehydration in children. Encourage them to drink water (or suck on ice chips). See a doctor if they can’t keep fluids down for eight hours.
You can also use any of the remedies, such as crackers, massage, and fluid intake to help vomiting. Although you may want to avoid using remedies or medications without your doctor’s approval.
When to see a doctor
Call your doctor if:
- You vomit for more than two days.
- Your child vomits for more than one day.
- Vomiting comes and goes for more than a month.
- You’re losing weight.
Get emergency medical help if vomiting is accompanied by:
The bottom line
Home remedies may be more effective if you have motion or morning sickness. Vomiting due to a stomach flu or food poisoning may require medical attention. Remember to drink enough fluids to avoid dehydration. Vomiting is uncomfortable, but it usually resolves itself within a day or so.