Vomiting can make anyone miserable. There are various illnesses that can make anyone feel worse but there are measures that can make it stop. Before the management of vomiting is started, it is vital to ensure first the exact cause. Remember that how the vomiting is treated depends on the cause.
When managing vomiting due to the stomach flu or gastroenteritis, the initial step is to allow the stomach to rest. After the individual stops vomiting, the individual should not attempt to eat or drink anything for 15-20 minutes to allow the stomach enough time to recover. If the stomach muscles are given time to rest after the vomiting subsides, it reduces the chances to vomit once the individual starts to eat or drink again.
Fluids to prevent dehydration caused by vomiting
After the stomach is allowed to rest for 15-20 minutes or the individual has not vomiting again, he/she can take small sips of fluids every 5-10 minutes. The suitable fluids to provide include:
- Sports drinks
- Pediatric electrolyte beverages
Beverages that contain milk or caffeine must be avoided until the individual is able to tolerate a normal diet. When managing a young child, be careful not to let him/her drink large amounts of fluid at once. It might be easier to control the amount by providing fluids using a spoon rather than a bottle or cup.
If the individual or child could tolerate clear liquids without triggering another episode of vomiting, he/she can start eating again. Just remember that this should not be started rapidly though. Make sure that the adult or child can keep fluids down for 8-12 hours before attempting to provide anything to eat.
If vomiting has not occurred after 8-12 hours, it is best to start with bland, starchy foods. The BRAT diet (banana, rice, applesauce, toast) is comprised of bland foods that are easy to digest if an individual has the stomach flu.
Moving on to a normal diet
If the individual has been vomiting but able to hold both clear liquids and bland foods (BRAT diet) down, he/she can move on to a normal diet. This is usually a day or two after the individual has stopped vomiting before ready to continue with a normal diet.
Once the individual decides that he/she can tolerate a normal diet again, it should be taken slowly even if he/she already feels better. If the individual starts to feel nauseated after eating, but does not vomit, the BRAT diet must be started again.
Oftentimes, medications might be needed to control the vomiting. There are 2 prescription medications available to help manage the vomiting. Depending on the case of the individual, the doctor might prescribe the suitable one. These can be used to prevent dehydration or become rehydrated if fluid loss is already present.