I don’t know about you, but all the fantastic advice I usually give others flies right out of my brain when it comes to myself. Especially with common health problems like cough, vomiting and diarrhea. I think it is the shock that blocks the thought process, preventing it from allowing us to follow our good sense. Also, when one’s too busy suffering, thinking is not a priority.
So, what to do when you have vomiting and diarrhea?
I’ll say it once and I’ll say it a hundred times: vomiting and diarrhea can make you miserable. Your stomach and bowels are unhappy with something that irritates them–could be food, a medication, or worse, stomach flu. Actually, puking and loose motions are strategies used by our body to eliminate a problem from our system. And of course you feel nauseous, which is also our body’s way of telling us not to eat, so that the tummy and bowels get a break to recover from whatever’s bothering them.
So, what to do? (I am beginning to sound like those three vultures from The Jungle Book!)
Here are some quick self care tips for vomiting and diarrhea
Drink Liquids. While that seems like common sense, most of us forget. It is important to stay hydrated since you are already losing fluids. Dehydration can lead to greater problems. What to drink?
- Clear liquids, such as water or broth, light buttermilk.
- Avoid beverages with a lot of sugar in them, this means no sodas and no juices. These make diarrhea worse.
- Avoid sport drinks. These don’t have water, sugar and minerals in the right proportions and can actually make you feel worse.
- Not excited about drinking something? Suck on ice chips. That helps.
There are a number of home remedies that you might like to try to soothe the stomach, such as:
- rice water
- ginger tea or ale
- mint tea
- bread toast
- apple cider vinegar mixed with honey and warm water
- plain unsweetened yogurt or buttermilk
As soon as you are able to eat again, gently come back to your normal diet. Of course, avoid oily and fried foods for a while until you feel normal. Stick to bland foods. For children, the BRAT diet is recommended, and I think it works fine for adults too. BRAT stands for Bananas, Rice, Apples and Toast. Examples are cereal based foods like cooked daliya, khichdi, kheer and cooked vegetables, such as carrots, green beans, beets.
Also, check with your doctor to see if there’s anything you should avoid. Our doctor advises us to avoid hard-to-digest foods like cheese and dairy and acidic food.
What about medication?
As I said earlier, vomiting and diarrhea are our body’s defense mechanism to get rid of harmful substances like bacteria. So, unless your doctor prescribes it, DO NOT use antidiarrheal or antiemetic (antivomiting) medications. At this time, most medication irritates the stomach, especially aspirin and medication containing aspirin. Also, medication slows down the exit of the
Moreover, some prescription medication, as well as over the counter medicines can cause vomiting and diarrhea. So if you are already on some medication for an underlying health issue, consult your doctor for the next course of action. Your doctor may probably suggest an alternate that is easier on the tummy. I almost always have a stomach upset with any kind of painkiller and avoid them as much as I can. When absolutely necessary, my doctor prescribes combinations that are gentler on the stomach.
In any case, do not self-medicate: do talk to your doctor before considering any medication to control nausea or soothe your stomach.
Immediately call or visit your doctor when the following happen:
- Bloody or black vomit or stools.
- Severe, steady abdominal pain.
- Vomiting with a severe headache or vomiting after a head injury.
- Vomiting and diarrhea together for more than an hour.
- When you can’t hold down even sips of liquids for more than 12 hours.
- Vomiting that continues beyond 24 hours.
- Severe diarrhea that continues beyond 2 days.
- Yellowish color to your skin or the whites of your eyes.