Ugh, here it comes. You feel kind of hot and sticky. Your stomach churns. Your mouth tastes funny. You know you’re going to throw up—imminently. Can you stop it before it happens? Or at least make it less terrible than it needs to be? Whether you’re battling morning sickness, food poisoning, or a stomach virus, here’s what to do the next time to feel a vomit session fast approaching.
Get to the bathroom if you can, obviously
Usually, step number one in combating any problem is to figure out the root cause and do a little self-assessment. Not this time! Your first priority needs to be getting to the bathroom, whether you succeed in your quest to stop this from happening or not. Throw your typical germaphobe behavior away momentarily and embrace the cool tile of the floor. This is where you will be for a bit, no matter how this next part goes for you.
Try to stop barfing
The good news is this: You might be stop yourself from throwing up, under certain circumstances. Just remember that throwing up is often your body’s way of ridding itself of something that’s bad for you; so, throwing up can actually be a good thing, even when it’s uncomfortable.
Try some deep breathing first. There’s been scientific study done on how this can be used to stop you from throwing up. The big brains call it “controlled diaphragmatic breathing” and recommend it for combating motion sickness, but what it means for you is this: Breathe slowly in through your nose, letting the air go deep, toward your lower belly. Tighten your abdominal muscles, then push the air out through your pursed lips. Repeat this over and over.
You can also try wrist acupressure, according to Healthline: You’re looking for pressure point Neiguan (P-6), which is on the palm side of your forearm near your wrist. Put three fingers across your wrist and your thumb under your index finger, then rub the point in a firm and circular motion for about two or three minutes before switching wrists. We can’t guarantee it’ll work, but if the deep breathing isn’t doing it, it might be worth a shot.
According to Insider, once the moment has sufficiently passed, fresh air, consuming ginger, and eating plain crackers can also help settle your stomach if those things are readily available to you.
What to do once the moment has passed
You might not be able to deep-breathe or acupressure your way out of Round 1 here, but you can try to stop it from continuing. Drink fluids to replenish what you’ve already lost, but don’t go too fast. If you chug, you may throw up again. Take intermittent sips every five to 10 minutes. In particular, water or drinks with electrolytes are good, and ginger ale, mint tea, or lemonade may help you feel less nauseous.
Just don’t eat or drink anything for at least 15 to 20 minutes after throwing up. In fact, according to VeryWell Health, you’ll want to make sure you can keep fluids down for eight to 12 hours before trying to eat at all—but you would be forgiven for trying to sneak in a few of those bland crackers we talked about. You won’t stop puking until your body is ready, but you’ll definitely make the situation worse by trying to forge ahead with a big meal or too much liquid right away.