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Holiday Nausea and Stomachaches: What You Can Do

by The GoodRx Pharmacist on December 22, 2015 at 4:12 pm

Holiday season is in full swing, and that means that many of you will be enjoying plenty of delicious foods and holiday treats over the next week or two. However, if you aren’t used to all the rich or sugary food, you may end up with a stomach-ache or nausea.

There’s no need to let a sour stomach ruin your holiday though—be prepared, and know what you can do to help yourself (and your family or friends) feel better if you overindulge this year.

What are some examples of over-the-counter products that can be used to get rid of an upset stomach?

You have a few basic options:

  • Pepto Bismol products for upset stomach, nausea, indigestion, diarrhea, or heartburn
  • Maalox Total Relief for upset stomach, nausea, indigestion, gas, or heartburn
  • Cola syrup for upset stomach due to nausea
  • Emetrol for upset stomach and nausea
  • Tums for upset or sour stomach
  • Rolaids for sour stomach

Each of these medications have many variations available to treat your upset stomach or nausea. For example, Maalox Total Relief has the same exact ingredient (bismuth subsalicylate) as Pepto Bismol Maximum Strength.

If you have any questions about which OTC med is right for you, always ask your doctor or pharmacist.

Is there anything I should know about Pepto Bismol products?

Yes, and it’s kind of out there. Pepto Bismol (bismuth subsalicylate) can turn your tongue and stool black. It’s a temporary (and harmless) side effect, but it can last several days after you stop taking Pepto Bismol. Exactly how long will depend on your individual age, bowel habits, and the amount of Pepto you’ve used.

I thought Tums and Rolaids were for heartburn?
Tums and Rolaids treat heartburn, but can also be used for sour or upset stomach. Both neutralize stomach acid and offer fast short-term relief.

Having trouble with heartburn instead? Check out our recent post on how to handle holiday heartburn.

What is cola syrup and where do I find it?

Cola syrup is an old-time remedy used for nausea with an upset stomach. Cola syrup can sometimes be found in the stomach aisle of your grocery store or pharmacy, but if you can’t find it, ask at the pharmacy counter as they may have it in stock or it can typically be ordered for next day pick up.

Isn’t Emetrol for kids only?

No—Emetrol can be used by kids and adults. It’s strong enough for adults and safe for children ages 2 and up.

How does Emetrol work?
Emetrol is also used for nausea and upset stomach, it works by calming the stomach muscle contractions that can lead to vomiting—unlike products that coat the stomach (for example, Pepto and Maalox).

If you want more information on Emetrol, check out the official website.


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