Emesis; Vomiting; Stomach upset; Upset stomach
It is important to stay hydrated. Try frequent, small amounts of clear liquids, such as electrolyte solutions. Other clear liquids -- such as water, ginger ale, or fruit juices -- also work unless the vomiting is severe or it is a baby who is vomiting.
For breast-fed babies, breast milk is usually best. Formula-fed babies usually need clear liquids.
Don't drink too much at one time. Stretching the stomach can make nausea and vomiting worse. Avoid solid foods until there has been no vomiting for six hours, and then work slowly back to a normal diet.
An over-the-counter bismuth stomach remedy like Pepto-Bismol is effective for upset stomach, nausea, indigestion, and diarrhea. Because it contains aspirin-like salicylates, it should NOT be used in children or teenagers who might have (or recently had) chickenpox or the flu.
Most vomiting comes from mild viral or food-related illnesses. Nevertheless, if you suspect the vomiting is from something serious, the person may need to be seen immediately by a medical professional.
If you have morning sickness during pregnancy, ask your doctor about the many possible treatments.
The following may help treat motion sickness:
Call 911 or go to an emergency room if you think vomiting is from poisoning or a child has taken aspirin.
Call a health care provider if the person has:
Signs of dehydration include:
You should also call if:
Your health care provider will perform a physical examination, particularly to look for signs of dehydration.
To help diagnose the cause of the nausea or vomiting, your health care provider will ask medical history questions, such as:
The following diagnostic tests may be performed:
If dehydration is severe, you may need intravenous fluids. This may require hospitalization, although it can often be done in a doctor's office. Antivomiting drugs (anti-emetics) may be helpful but they should be used only when the potential benefits outweigh the risks.
A number of medicines are effective at preventing vomiting. In some situations, preventing the vomiting makes life much better.
Proctor DD. Approach to the patient with gastrointestinal disease. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 134.
This article uses information by permission from Alan Greene, M.D., © Greene Ink, Inc.
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