Vomiting is the forceful expulsion of the stomach contents through the mouth, and sometimes through the nose. Medically, it is called emesis. The vomiting center in the brain is located in the medulla oblongata. Vomiting is not a diagnosis on its own, but it is usually a symptom of an underlying infection or disease. It can be caused by a wide range of disease that can be mild or severe. Vomiting is usually preceded by nausea, a feeling of uneasiness in the stomach.
Medical assistance is not required in cases of vomiting. However, when vomiting has been present for more than 24 hours, early signs of dehydration may begin to manifest. Dehydration and electrolyte imbalance are the most common complications that can develop from vomiting and can lead to death, if not treated immediately.
Causes of Vomiting
Vomiting is not a disease but is usually a result of an ailment or condition in the body. Vomiting is frequently the aftermath of an irritation of the digestive tract. The onset of vomiting can help determine which of the following caused this symptom to an individual:
- Food poisoning – vomiting occurs several hours after eating contaminated food
- Eating too much
- Gastroenteritis – inflammation of the stomach and intestines
- Gastritis – inflammation of the stomach
- Poison ingestion
- Toxin ingestion
- Gallbladder disease
- Morning sickness – usually experienced by pregnant mothers especially in the first or second trimester
- Motion sickness
- Emotional stress
- Hypersensitivity to certain smells
- Certain medications
- Alcohol abuse
First Aid Management for Vomiting
First aid can be administered to individuals suffering from vomiting. Learn how to apply first aid to individuals suffering from vomiting and other common conditions by enrolling in First Aid Courses. The following first aid tips may help alleviate vomiting:
- Do not attempt to hold the vomit in. Allow the person to vomit as long as needed.
- Using a clean and slightly wet cloth, wipe the face of the person.
- After the person is done vomiting, assist them into drinking small but frequent amounts of clear fluids, such as water, sports drinks or fruit juices. This can help prevent dehydration.
- Do not give caffeine, alcohol and other diuretics to avoid losing even more fluids in the body.
- Do not give milk as it may irritate the stomach.
- Start by giving the person light and bland foods such as bread and crackers. Do not give heavy, solid foods until vomiting has stopped.
- When vomiting is relieved for 24 hours, start with a BRAT diet – which consists of banana, rice, apple sauce minus the sugar, and toast. Potatoes and paste may also be given.
- If the person is unconscious, start by checking for pulse. If no pulse is detected, begin CPR. If pulse is detected, turn the head to the left side.
Prevention of Vomiting
Not all cases of vomiting can be prevented, however, there are some tips that can help avoid vomiting in other cases:
- Eat small frequent meals. Do not rush eating. Moreover, do not engage in other activities while eating.
- After eating, rest.
- Drink clear fluids often.
- For individuals suffering from motion sickness, opt for seats that are facing the front and avoid engaging in other activities.
Vomiting is the forceful ejection of the stomach contents through the mouth and is one of the most common symptoms of plenty of diseases.