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Nausea, Vomiting, Diarrhea

Helpful Hints for Dealing with Nausea, Vomiting and/or Diarrhea

Viruses are the usual cause of nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. These illnesses are usually self-limiting; which means the symptoms will resolve on their own in a few days. Occasionally, these viruses may also cause headaches, body aches and fever.

For nausea and vomiting:

  • Don’t try to eat or drink anything while you are vomiting frequently.
  • When your stomach begins to settle, try SIPS of clear liquids only.
  • Examples of clear liquids are: ice, water, soft drinks, tea, Kool-Aid, ice popsicles, sports drinks, Jell-O. No alcoholic beverages allowed!!
  • If you are doing well with sips, try to start drinking larger amounts frequently. It is important to try to replace the fluids you have lost through vomiting and/or diarrhea.
  • When you are tolerating fluids well and have not had any vomiting for at least 8 hrs. You can try the BRAT diet: Bananas, Rice, Applesauce and Toast. (No gravy, butter or jelly, please!) You can also try plain bagels, saltine crackers and baked potatoes. No cream soups, meats, vegetables or salads.
  • When you are doing well on the BRAT diet for at least 24 hrs., you can gradually begin eating a regular diet. You should avoid any dairy products and fried foods for another day or so.
  • You may try over-the-counter medications, such as; Bonine or Dramamine Less Drowsy (active ingredient: meclizine 25 mg.) every 6-8 hours as needed for nausea. Tylenol is a good choice for fever or aches because it is gentle on the stomach.

For Diarrhea:

  • Follow the clear liquid diet as long as you are having frequent watery stools. Beware – sometimes sugar and caffeine may make diarrhea worse.
  • As stools began occurring less frequently, you can try the BRAT diet. (See above)
  • When stools become soft and formed, you can gradually return to a regular diet. You should avoid dairy products and high roughage foods, such as bran, whole grains and salad for a few more days.
  • You may try over-the-counter medications, such as Immodium AD or Kaopectate. Be sure to follow the instructions on the box carefully.

SEEK MEDICAL HELP IF

  • Symptoms do not improve in 24-48 hours.
  • Increasing weakness, dizziness or passing out.
  • Unable to tolerate sips of fluids for over 12 hours.
  • Blood in vomitus or stools.
  • Severe abdominal pain for more than 4 straight hours.
  • Fever of 101 F or above for more than 24 hours.
  • Urine becomes dark or no urination for 12 hours or longer.
  • If you have diabetes or other medical condition(s) that require daily medications.

Last edited by abaugues@unca.edu on February 9, 2011