Getting help for nausea

It's important that you receive your cancer treatment but it's also important that your life is disrupted as little as possible by any unpleasant side effects.

How can family or friends help?

Family or friends can help in many ways when someone is feeling or being sick.

  • Keep a record of when medications are due so that anti-emetics can be taken regularly and on time
  • Keep the surroundings pleasant, quiet and clean. Help the person to freshen up and get dressed, if s/he would like to
  • Keep a towel, a cool cloth and a glass of water for rinsing the mouth close at hand. Offer a refreshing mouthwash. If someone is vomiting, provide a bowl and empty it after they have been sick.
  • Offer to prepare favourite foods or drinks, but don't try to force someone to eat or drink if they don't want to. Altered taste sometimes experienced during chemotherapy treatment may mean that once favourite foods are not wanted at this time.

When should I contact the doctor, nurse or pharmacist?

Keep a record of your sickness. If you are vomiting and this lasts for more than 24 hours and doesn't improve, contact the hospital or your family doctor. Prolonged vomiting can result in dehydration and low levels of sugar in the blood.

Any unpleasant side effects caused by your anti-emetics, or other treatment you are receiving, should also be reported.

If nausea or vomiting continues despite treatment for it, please tell any of the staff caring for you. There is a range of anti-emetics available and it may be just a question of finding the right one or combination for you.

Your doctor, nurse or pharmacist may also be able to tell you about other support services which are available.