Ana Theresa Williams BSN RN
A pas-senger rode an air-conditioned L300 van when sud-denly she puked in front of other passengers. To our dismay, my husband and I transferred to another van.
To vomit is not a disease, but a clinical manifestation of an under-lying health condi-tion. Vomiting is a natural reflex that often occurs as a form of protection. In the event you consume something that is contaminated or poisonous, vomiting is your body’s way of getting rid of it. You may first experience nausea, which is the unpleasant feeling of being about to vomit.
Also, to vomit is typically an involuntary emptying of your stomach contents through your mouth.
And when you puke, it’s usually associated with a feeling of nausea and strong contractions of the abdominal muscles. Vomiting is different from regurgitation, however, in which one spits up stomach contents into the esophagus without feeling sick and without strong muscle contractions.
There are many reasons why a person feel nauseated or vomit. Among the common causes are overeating, drinking too much alcohol, prescription and nonprescription drugs, food poisoning, viral infections, fear or other strong emotions, early pregnancy, motion sickness such as being seasick or carsick, chemical toxins in the environment, gallbladder disease, intense pain, migraine headache, and disgusting smells.
Some other possible serious medical conditions that cause a person to experience nausea and/or vomiting include appendicitis (inflammation of the appendix), concussion or traumatic brain injury, meningitis (inflammation of the protective membranes covering the brain and spinal cord) or encephalitis (inflammation of the brain tissue), brain tumor and intestinal blockage.
If you have just vomited, do not drink citrus juices or milk. Increase fluids as tolerated. When you can tolerate clear liquids for several hours without vomiting and if you’re hungry, try eating small amounts of bland foods. Try foods such as bananas, rice, applesauce, dry toast, soda crackers — these foods are called BRAT diet.
Start calling a doctor about nausea and vomiting if the nausea lasts for more than a few days or if there is a possibility of being pregnant; if home treatment is not working, dehydration is present, or a known injury has occurred such as head injury or infection that may be causing the vomiting; adults should consult a doctor if vomiting occurs for more than one day, diarrhea and vomiting last more than 24 hours, or there are signs of dehydration; take an infant or child under six years to the doctor if vomiting lasts more than a few hours, diarrhea is present, signs of dehydration occur, there is a fever, or if the child hasn’t urinated for 4-6 hours; take a child over age six years to the doctor if vomiting lasts one day, diarrhea combined with vomiting lasts for more than 24 hours, there are any signs of dehydration, there is a fever higher than 38.3 degrees, or the child hasn’t urinated for six hours.
You should seek immediate medical care if any of the following situations occur with vomiting: there is blood in the vomit like bright red or “coffee grounds” in appearance; severe headache or stiff neck; lethargy, confusion, or a decreased alertness; severe abdominal pain; diarrhea; and rapid breathing or pulse.
HEALTHWATCHING: For the Lord is our judge, the Lord is our lawgiver, the Lord is our king; he will save us. Isaiah 33:22