Coping With Vomiting


Vomiting is caused by various factors including, but not limited to, food poisoning, a medication side effect, a viral infection, pain, pregnancy, migraine, motion sickness, anxiety, an acute illness, or a chronic health condition. Although vomiting is uncomfortable and unpleasant, it typically subsides within one to two days.

Tips for coping with vomiting episodes include the following:

  • Avoid solid foods until the vomiting episode subsides.
  • Slowly sip ice-cold, clear liquids. Clear beverages with sugar, such as lemon-lime soda, help calm the stomach.
  • If vomiting is severe, suck on ice chips or popsicles.
  • When nausea subsides, try bland foods, such as broths, soda crackers, white rice, or toast.
  • Eat smaller, more frequent meals rather than three large meals.
  • Do not mix hot and cold foods.
  • Rest with the head elevated after eating.
  • Avoid physical activity after eating.
  • Avoid brushing teeth after eating.
  • Avoid fried, greasy or sweet foods.
  • Temporarily discontinue oral medications that may worsen vomiting (under the guidance of a physician).
  • Consider an over-the-counter anti nausea medication, such as bismuth subsalicylate. Be sure to consult your primary care provider or pharmacist to check for any potential drug interactions with other medications you are taking.
  • Consider an over-the-counter antihistamine, such as diphenhydramine or dimenhydrinate, to help with vomiting caused from motion sickness. Be sure to consult your primary care provider or pharmacist to check for any potential drug interactions with other medications you are taking.
  • Try deep breathing techniques. Take slow deep breaths in through the nose while expanding the abdomen. Slowly exhale through the mouth or nose while the stomach deflates. Repeat several times.
  • Perform wrist acupressure by applying pressure to the palm side of the forearm near the wrist. To find the correct pressure point, place the ring finger, middle finger, and index finger across the inside of the opposite wrist (under the palm of the hand). Rest the thumb of the same hand on the forearm (in the area under the index finger). Using the thumb, apply firm pressure and rub this area with circular motions for two to three minutes. Repeat on the other wrist.
  • Sip tea with ginger, fennel seeds, or cloves.
  • Use aromatherapy oil, such as clove, lavender, chamomile, rose, peppermint, or fresh lemon, in a diffuser or place a few drops on a cotton ball and inhale the scent.

Consult a medical professional if vomiting lasts for more than two days, if it comes and goes for more than a month, or if weight loss occurs. Seek emergency medical care if vomiting is accompanied by chest pain, severe abdominal pain, headache, dizziness, fainting, fever, stiff neck, blurred vision, or cold and clammy skin. Vomiting due to food poisoning or stomach flu may also require assistance from a medical professional.