Can inhaling 'alco-wipes' ease acute nausea?

It may sound strange but some GPs think isopropyl alcohol will calm queasiness

In a discussion of GP tips and tricks on an online GP discussion board, several members enthusiastically supported the use of nasal inhalation of ‘alco-wipes’ (sterile isopropyl alcohol pads) for the relief of acute nausea.

If effective, this seems a novel and practical intervention in general practice.

So what is the evidence — especially for conditions presenting with acute nausea and vomiting commonly seen in general practice, for example acute gastroenteritis?

Clinical question

What is the effectiveness of nasal inhalation of isopropyl alcohol as a treatment for acute nausea in otherwise well, ambulatory adults?

What does the research evidence say?

Step 1: the Cochrane Library

There is a Cochrane systematic review on aromatherapy for the treatment of postoperative nausea and vomiting, which includes