Noel Nausea? The Sequel

Here is an article from our archives that we thought worth another read. Hopefully it helps you with those “tummy problems”


Many people experience nausea and vomiting from motion sickness, overindulgence of food and drinks, or from some other undefined ailment such as a virus. With the holidays here, it is important to know the reason for the nausea to treat it appropriately.

First there is Motion Sickness:

Non-pharmacy: Some tips for you to prevent motion sickness are to avoid strong odors such as smoke or foods. Also, you should try to be in control of the vehicle or sit where there is limited movement such as the front seat of a car or above the wing of a plane. Distractions can also be useful such as lozenges or listening to music.
Acupressure wrist bands can be an option and have fewer side effects than other medications. They work by continuously putting pressure on the P6 pressure point which releases endorphins and interrupts the signal to the vomiting center in the brain. Sea-Bands are one brand name and can be used on both wrists and work in about 5 minutes, while Bio-Bands, a different band, are worn on one wrist and work in about 5-15 minutes.

Pharmacy: Antihistamines are commonly used for motion sickness and work by inhibiting the activation of histamine receptors in the nausea and vomiting center of the brain. Examples include meclizine, which is seen in Bonine and Dramamine (less drowsy formulation). Meclizine can be used in children greater than 12 years old, and Benadryl is used for children greater than 2 years old. You should use antihistamines 30-60 minutes before the trip if possible. Side effects include drowsiness, and alcohol and sedatives are not recommended for this reason.

Next is Overindulgence of food and drinks or other undefined stomach upset:

 Acupressure wrist bands can be an option and have fewer side effects than other medications
Acupressure wrist bands can be an option and have fewer side effects than other medications

Pharm: You can use Pepto-Bismol for overindulgence of food and drinks or other stomach upset. It works by increasing the mucus production and decreasing acidity in the stomach itself, which can worsen stomach upset. This medication contains aspirin, so it should not be used in children less than 12 years old because of the risk of Reye’s syndrome.

Phosphorated Carbohydrate solution (Emetrol) is another option and contains fructose, glucose, and phosphoric acid and works by decreasing gastric emptying. This medication should not be used in people with diabetes because it contains glucose.

But don’t forget about Other causes of nausea:

Food poisoning: If you suspect food poisoning (from organisms like salmonella or e.coli), medications are usually not effective. Food poisoning should resolve on its own in 24 hours, but you should contact your primary care physician if the nausea and vomiting continues longer than that.

Drug induced stomach upset: Some medications can have side effects of nausea and vomiting. Common ones include opioids, antibiotics, and antidepressants. Eating a little food before you take the medication may prevent stomach upset and can be helpful in reducing the severity symptoms.

Finally, watch for the most dangerous result of vomiting – dehydration.

Water is very important but you need to replace the electrolytes lost as well.

The CDC recommends everyone to keep at least one bottle of an oral rehydrate solution (such as Pedialyte or Rehydrylate) in your cupboard for such times. In the case of children and infants, it is especially important because their little bodies become dehydrated faster than adults. It is not recommended to use sports drinks, fruit juice, or carbonated drinks because these can worsen any diarrhea and will also not have the proper electrolytes that the body requires. If the rehydrate solution is lost to vomiting (or diarrhea), phone your physician immediately for further advice.

Holidays are here, and a lot of people will be traveling by car or plane, or eating more than they should at times. Remember these tips and medications available in case you experience these symptoms.

Author: Vanessa Tinkey,
Class of 2014 PharmD Candidate,
Student of Dr. Rebecca Miller Wise,
L|E|C|O|M School of Pharmacy

Be Well, Be Wise,


Dr Becky Wise
Dr Becky Wise

Wise Words…. is a general medical information column from Dr Rebecca Wise. Dr. Wise has a master’s degree in education as well as her doctorate in pharmacy. She is an assistant professor and ambulatory care specialist at a Medication Therapy Management (MTM) clinic in Erie, PA.

Soon to be released is Dr Becky’s new website which will address women’s issues, watch for it:

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