The First Thing You Should Do After You Throw Up

No one enjoys feeling nauseous, and throwing up is even less fun. Just the sensation of queasiness can be enough to stop you in your tracks. Unfortunately, nausea and vomiting can be the symptom of a range of conditions, including infection, motion sickness, pregnancy, food poisoning, migraine, and even heart attacks (via Healthline).

The first step in treating the nausea is to identify the potential cause. If you're in the early stages of pregnancy, ate some questionable leftovers, or are taking a new medication, the cause of your nausea may be readily apparent. Dr. Seema Sarin, M.D., Director of Lifestyle Medicine for EHE Health, cautions that if your nausea and vomiting are accompanied by other red flags, like fever or pain, you should visit your doctor immediately. Uncontrolled vomiting or illness that persists for more than 24 hours is also a cause for concern.

If you're treating a (non-threatening) case of nausea, Dr. Sarin outlines a simple plan for helping yourself recover.

How can I feel better after throwing up?

Dr. Sarin suggests starting by taking steps to ease the nausea. She explains, "You should rest in an upright position, put a cold compress over the back of your neck, and avoid any strong smells that may cause you to start vomiting again." It may also help to step outside for fresh air. If your symptoms don't abate, you may benefit from an anti-nausea medication.

The most common advice you'll hear is to stay hydrated, and for good reason. Dr. Sarin points out, "Your body is losing a lot of water every time you throw up." After about 15 minutes, try sipping on water, an electrolyte drink, or ginger tea, which is well-known for relieving nausea (via VeryWellFit).

Even though you may not feel much like eating, getting something in your stomach can help to relieve your nausea. A build-up of hydrochloric acid in your stomach can trigger nausea, since it's a physiologically similar sensation to throwing up (via Science Focus). Dr. Sarin advises eating small amounts of easily digestible foods — around two to three hours after throwing up. Stick to the BRAT diet — bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast.

Finally, don't underestimate the importance of getting adequate rest. Nausea and vomiting are a symptom, not an illness, and Dr. Sarin reminds patients, "Your body needs to fight whatever it is that caused it in the first place." Some downtime might be just what you need to get you back on your feet again.