Coping with sickness and nausea
Treatments such as chemotherapy may make you feel sick (nauseous) or be sick (vomit). Your doctor will tell you if your chemotherapy treatment is likely to cause nausea and vomiting.
Anti-sickness medication (known as anti-emetics) can help. Antiemetics may be available as:
- Injections – usually given by the nurse before chemotherapy
- Tablets – can be taken regularly at home
- Wafers – dissolved under or on top of the tongue
- Suppositories – placed in the rectum where they dissolve
- Liquids – added to the chemotherapy
- Patches – worn on the upper arm
You may be prescribed medication before treatment to reduce the side effects. Some people find it takes some time before they find a medication that works for them. Let your nurse or doctor know if you still have nausea after a few days taking the medication or if you have been sick for more than 24 hours.
Tips for coping with sickness & nausea:
- Eat little and often especially before your treatment (e.g. soup and dry biscuits or toast), and drink as much fluid as possible.
- Instead of drinking a lot at once, try sipping small amounts of liquid often. Sucking on ice cubes can also help to increase your fluid intake.
- If you wake up feeling sick, eat a dry biscuit (ginger biscuits may help with nausea) or a slice of toast. This is better than skipping breakfast or forcing yourself to eat. If you are diabetic, consult your medical team.
- Fizzy drinks such as ginger ale or soda water can often help relieve an upset stomach.
It is important to keep up your fluid intake to prevent you from becoming dehydrated if you have been vomiting a lot. You should contact your medical team if you are unable to keep fluids down.
Avoid strong odours and cooking smells, which can trigger nausea and vomiting.
Sometimes the taste of certain types of food can change. Your sense of taste should return to normal a few weeks after you have completed your treatment (click here to see more about changes in taste or smell)
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Information Product No. PCA0015v1 | Published: 01/06/2015 | Last Updated: 01/10/2015 | Next Review Due: 01/06/2018