Comforting and caring for a child or adult who vomits
Vomiting is a symptom with many possible causes. The cause can range from a food that doesn’t agree with you to serious illness. However, the most common cause is an intestinal virus. Vomiting may last only a short while or persist for several days.
The best treatment is to eat no solids and to take frequent, small sips of clear fluids: weak tea; decarbonated, room-temperature ginger ale or cola drinks; gelatin; broth; or diluted apple juice. An infant maybe kept on the breast or offered one-half-strength formula; it is important to maintain a good fluid intake to prevent dehydration. Once vomiting has ceased (usually within 24 hours) gradually add light, easy-to-digest foods: gelatin desserts, cooked cereals, dry toast, crackers.
Even an adult may want support and reassurance when he is vomiting, but for children these are necessities. Gently sponge off any vomitus. Supply fresh bedclothes and pajamas if necessary. Wipe the toilet and nearby area with disinfectant cleaner. Clean spills from carpeting with a mild solution of ammonia and water. What to watch for Be alert for symptoms indicating a serious disorder; report them to a doctor. Vomiting combined with abdominal pain and fever may mean appendicitis.
Intolerance to certain medications can cause uncontrollable vomiting. In infants, persistent projectile vomiting (the forceful expulsion of stomach contents) can be easily corrected by surgery. At any age, if vomiting continues longer than a day or if it is unusually severe, consult a doctor.