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.
- 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.