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Health A-Z

Medical Content Created by the Faculty of the
Harvard Medical School

Prevention

Some causes of nausea are not easily prevented. While the cause of your nausea is being determined, you can minimize episodes of nausea by following some basic guidelines:

  • Eat small meals every few hours so your stomach won't feel full.

  • Try to avoid bothersome odors such as perfume, smoke or certain cooking smells.

  • If you have had nausea for weeks to months, consider keeping a food diary to help identify foods that cause nausea.

  • Avoid eating any food that smells or appears spoiled or has not been refrigerated properly.

  • If you are prone to motion sickness, avoid reading in a moving vehicle. Also, try to sit in the part of the vehicle with the least movement (near the wings of an airplane or in the center of a boat). Ask your doctor about taking anti-nausea drugs before traveling.

  • Avoid alcohol.

If you take medications for nausea, including over-the-counter types, avoid drinking alcohol which may make you more ill. Always read the label before taking anti-nausea medication, because some motion sickness medications can cause significant drowsiness.

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From Health A-Z, Harvard Health Publications. Copyright 2007 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College. All rights reserved. Written permission is required to reproduce, in any manner, in whole or in part, the material contained herein. To make a reprint request, contact Harvard Health Publications. Used with permission of StayWell.

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