There are very few illnesses that taste worse than vomiting, especially if you’re already feeling unwell. Gastroenteritis, or stomach flu, is an illness that can make people feel so weak that they have to lie in bed for several days. Fortunately, there are several ways you can reduce vomiting during a stomach flu. Read Step 1 below for more information.
Eat and Drink to Prevent Vomiting
Sip a little water. Vomiting causes the body to become dehydrated so you need to replenish lost body fluids by drinking water. Remember, you have to drink little by little. Immediately gulping down lots of water in a glass will actually stretch the upset stomach, causing you to throw up again.
Take a few sips of water every fifteen minutes after you vomit. Do it for 3-4 hours to meet the body’s fluid needs.
Sip on ice lolly or ice cubes. There are 3 benefits of sucking on ice cubes—ice cubes can relieve the gag reflex while helping you to slowly meet your fluid needs. In addition to the two advantages above, sucking on ice cubes and ice lolly can also help relieve bad taste in the mouth after vomiting.
Drink a drink whose water is clear in color other than plain water, a few hours after vomiting. After you wait for several hours, drink fluids that contain electrolytes, which are minerals in the body that are useful for balancing the body’s metabolic processes. Vomiting causes electrolyte levels to drop; and drinking drinks that contain lots of electrolytes can help restore the body’s metabolic processes.
After vomiting, wait a few hours before drinking a clear drink. Drink slowly every fifteen minutes, for 3-4 hours. Drinks with clear water include sports drinks such as Vitamin Water, apple juice, non-condensed teas, and clear broths.
Drink ginger tea, which has been shown to reduce the urge to vomit. Ginger tea has a calming effect on the stomach, reducing nausea and the chance of vomiting. Ginger tea can be purchased at the nearest convenience store.
Eat tasteless food. If the nausea has subsided after you drink water, suck on ice cubes, and drink other clear drinks besides water, you can eat simple foods that are easy for the stomach to digest. You can only do this if you have not vomited for at least 4 hours. Biscuits and crackers are examples of foods that can stop nausea and vomiting. Examples of other foods that you can try for example:
Rice, bananas, applesauce and plain toast without any jams or additions.
Avoiding Nausea Triggers
Avoid kissing, trying, and seeing certain things you don’t want. If the strong smell of car deodorizer is already triggering nausea when you’re healthy, avoid smelling it when you’re sick. Some of the things you smell, see, and eat can stimulate nausea and vomiting, so it’s important to know what triggers your nausea.
For example, there are some people who feel nauseous when they see blood, even if they have only seen it in movies. There are also people who feel nauseous if they eat blue cheese or smell garbage. Whatever triggers your nausea, stay away.
Also stay away from carbonated, acidic, and caffeinated drinks. These three drinks can stimulate the nausea reflex and even irritate the lining of the digestive tract. So, avoid drinking these drinks for at least a day after vomiting.
Carbonated drinks include all types of beer and soda.
Acidic drinks include orange juice, grapefruit juice, and other drinks made from citric fruits.
Drinks that contain caffeine include black tea, coffee, and energy drinks.
Avoid spicy and oily food. This kind of food is medically known to trigger vomiting because the stomach has to work extra to digest it. Wait at least 48 hours after vomiting, before eating oily or slightly spicy foods.
Don’t get in the car just yet, especially if you feel drunk. You are likely to continue to feel nauseous and have the urge to throw up when you have the stomach flu; and driving will only make it worse. Constantly moving and changing directions (e.g. you’re sitting in the back of a car and the car moves to make a U-turn) stimulates receptors located in the vestibular labyrinth in the inner ear. From the inner ear, vibrations will be transmitted to the cerebellum through the brain stem. The cerebellum is the center that triggers nausea, so you become vomiting.
If you absolutely must get in the car, ask the driver to drive slower when turning and be careful not to make any sharp movements. Thus, your chances of feeling nauseous are lower.
Don’t smoke. You should already know that smoking is harmful to health. In fact, the effect is even worse if you have the stomach flu and you are trying to stop the vomiting symptoms. You inhale nicotine when you smoke, and it relaxes the circular muscle at the bottom of your esophagus. As a result, stomach acid irritates the esophagus and makes you vomit.
Avoid taking certain nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). These drugs usually have the potential to irritate the stomach because their content blocks the production of prostaglandins produced by the body. Prostaglandins are natural compounds that can trigger inflammation; but certain types of prostaglandins also function to protect the stomach lining. Taking NSAIDs will actually prevent prostaglandins from performing this protective function, leading to irritation and vomiting.
NSAIDs include aspirin, naproxen, and ibuprofen.
Using Relaxation and Diversion Techniques
Think positive things. Nausea starts in the brain—the perception of nausea from the mind can cause you to throw up. Therefore, you should try to distract yourself from the thought of vomiting by imagining beautiful places or other images that can relax you. When you start to feel nauseous, imagine something that can distract or calm you down. Listening to music that makes you feel calm and happy can also help reinforce positive thoughts.
For example, you can imagine Christmas morning when you start to feel nauseous. Imagine all the family members present around you, then a lit Christmas tree, wood in the fireplace, and so on.
Watch a movie or read a good book. Just like thinking positive thoughts, doing activities that attract full attention will prevent you from vomiting. When the midbrain is working, you most likely will not feel nauseous, so you will not vomit.
Watch a movie that will not remind you that you are sick. For example, if you feel nauseous at the sight of blood, don’t rent a new horror movie or vampire movie. Watch drama, romance, comedy, and more.
Make an effort to get some fresh air, even if you feel too weak to go outside. You can open the windows and let the outside air into the room. Fresh air is good for people who are nauseous. If possible, sit outdoors and let the breeze soothe you. Looking around and focusing on something beautiful while taking fresh breaths will prevent vomiting.
Position the body so that it remains upright. Elevate the head of the bed to 45-90 degrees by adding a pillow. In addition, make the position of the feet to be higher than the body (using a pillow too). With this position, you can control the force of gravity so you don’t throw up. Placing your feet higher than your midsection can also help improve blood circulation.