Vomiting is never fun, and it can be confusing to know what to do after throwing up. Many things can cause vomiting, including pregnancy, chemotherapy, infections, food poisoning, migraine headaches, motion sickness, ulcers, intestinal obstructions and even worry and stress.
Most episodes of vomiting and nausea are not serious, but you should contact your doctor immediately if:
- You think your vomiting is due to poisoning from ingesting a toxic substance.
- You’ve been vomiting longer than 24 hours.
- You notice blood or very dark-colored material in the vomit.
- You have severe abdominal pain.
- You have a fever.
- You have a severe headache and a stiff neck.
- You’re showing signs of dehydration, such as dark urine, infrequent urination (no urination for eight hours or more) or dry mouth.
Severe cases of vomiting may require you to receive extra fluids through an IV (intravenously). Treatments for the vomiting will vary depending on the underlying cause.
These tips can help you take care of yourself or your loved one after having a bout of nausea and vomiting.
If you throw up a lot, you can become dehydrated. Frozen pops, gelatin and clear soups are good ways to start rehydrating after throwing up.
If you’re having trouble keeping liquids down, only drink small amounts at a time. Don’t gulp down a big glass of water; sip slowly, but frequently.
Avoid caffeine, alcohol and carbonated drinks.
After you finish throwing up, you may start to feel like you’re ready to start eating again at some point. However, now is not the time to sit down to a big meal. Go slowly and eat just small amounts at a time - keeping it bland at first. Eating crackers, toast, baked chicken or fish, potatoes, noodles or rice are all good choices. Avoid spicy, salty or fatty foods, which might make you feel worse and irritate your recovering gastrointestinal tract. Sit up after eating rather than lying down.
Make yourself comfortable
Sit quietly when you’re feeling nauseated; moving around a lot can make it worse. Watching a movie or a TV show can help take your mind off of how you’re feeling. Going outside for some fresh air might be helpful, too.
Avoid strong odors or bad smells. They can make you feel worse and might trigger more nausea.
Have a bad taste in your mouth? Try rinsing your mouth with a solution of baking soda, salt, and warm water. Use 1 teaspoon baking soda, 3/4 teaspoon salt and 4 cups warm water. Spit out after rinsing.
Sucking on a piece of hard candy can help, too.
If your vomiting is severe enough that you need to call your doctor, he or she might recommend anti-nausea medicines. If you are a cancer patient who is receiving chemotherapy, it’s important to take your recommended anti-nausea medicines as soon as your stomach starts bothering you, not when your symptoms become severe.
Learn more about Marlon Joseph, MD