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Feeling sick (nausea)

Feeling sick (nausea) is common and usually goes away on its own. There are some things you can try that might help.

Things that may help you stop feeling sick


  • get plenty of fresh air

  • distract yourself – for example, listen to music or watch a film

  • take sips of a cold drink – some people find fizzy drinks work best

  • drink ginger or peppermint tea

  • eat foods containing ginger – such as ginger biscuits

  • eat smaller meals more often

  • drink fluids to avoid dehydration if you are vomiting


  • do not eat or cook strong-smelling food

  • do not eat spicy, fried or greasy food

  • do not eat too quickly

  • do not have a large drink with meals

  • do not lie down soon after eating

  • do not wear clothes that are tight around your waist or tummy

When to contact your GP

Talk to your GP if you:

  • do not feel better in a few days
  • often feel sick (it keeps coming back)

They may prescribe anti-sickness medicine if needed.

Emergency action required: Call 112 or 999 if

you suddenly feel sick and have:

  • chest pain that feels tight or heavy
  • pain that spreads to your arms, back, neck or jaw
  • shortness of breath

This could be a heart attack.

Common causes of feeling sick

Lots of things can make you feel sick.

Any other symptoms you have may give you an idea of the cause. But do not self-diagnose – see a GP if you're worried.

Possible causes of symptoms.

Other symptoms Possible cause
Other symptoms Diarrhoea or vomiting Possible cause norovirus or food poisoning
Other symptoms Headache and a high temperature Possible cause an infection, such as flu
Other symptoms Heartburn or bloating after eating Possible cause acid reflux
Other symptoms Headache and sensitivity to light or sound Possible cause migraine
Other symptoms Dizziness Possible cause labyrinthitis or vertigo

Other reasons for feeling sick include:

Do not worry if you're not sure what the cause is. Try the things that may stop you feeling sick and see your GP if you do not feel better in a few days.

Content supplied by the NHS and adapted for Ireland by the HSE

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This project has received funding from the Government of Ireland’s Sláintecare Integration Fund 2019 under Grant Agreement Number 123.

Page last reviewed: 27 April 2021
Next review due: 27 April 2024