2016/06/20 - Medical Tidbits: Isopropyl Alcohol for Related Nausea

there are more uses for isopropyl alcohol then cleaning off a finger for a blood sugar check or wipe down the arm to start an IV. How about “aromatherapy” of isopropyl alcohol to help with nausea. Over the past 10+ years there has been multiple articles regarding the use of isopropyl alcohol in the post-operative patient. In these articles the researchers would look b/w the use of isopropyl alcohol versus Phenergan / Zofran / placebo, etc. Most of the articles showed no difference b/w using the usual medications that we are used to given for nausea versus isopropyl alcohol.


2007 editorial …

Isopropyl Alcohol for Related Nausea

To the Editor:

Postoperative nausea continues to be a perplexing problem. Most patients complain of sickness in the recovery room, but we have identified a subset of patients who develop nausea while being transported back to their room or to the day surgery center. Our transport team observed this phenomenon and related it to the rocking and rolling motion of the transport stretchers. Because we routinely use isopropyl alcohol as the first treatment for postoperative nausea in recovery, we studied its use in this special condition. Over a 6-mo period, we identified 77 patients who became nauseated during transport, having previously been free of such complaints. Our transport team was asked to administer isopropyl alcohol by wetting the upper lip and asking the patient to sniff the vapor. Of the group, 65 (84%) had relief of their symptoms, whereas 12 (15%) did not respond. We were impressed by the high level of success of such an innocuous treatment. All of our transport team now carry isopropyl alcohol pledgets and offer this therapy routinely during transport. We recommend the use of this safe and simple treatment should

nausea develop during postoperative transportation.


From Academic Life in Emergency Medicine December 2015 …


so the next time you reach for that pill to give, thinking about starting an IV to give nausea medication, do not have any medication to give for the pregnant female that is having nausea … think of the little red and white pledget we have in the glucose kit. Have the patient take in deep, slow breaths.

Until next month … remember Share the Care; Work as a Team … and what we do really does matter.