Vomiting: Vomiting is the forcible voluntary or involuntary emptying of stomach contents through the mouth.
Vomiting is the body’s way of ridding itself of harmful substances from the stomach, or it may be a reaction to something that has irritated the gut. Vomiting is not a disease and is a symptom of many conditions such as: motion sickness or sea sickness, early pregnancy, food poisoning, emotional stress, heart attack and diabetes.
The causes of vomiting differ according to age.
One of the most common causes of vomiting in adults is gastroenteritis. This is an infection of the gut usually caused by bacteria or a virus, which will normally improve within a few days.
However, vomiting can occasionally be a sign of something more serious, such as appendicitis, so if you are feeling very unwell or are worried about your vomiting, trust your instincts and call your doctor.
For children, it is common for vomiting to occur from a viral infection, motion sickness, overeating or feeding, coughing, blocked intestines, food poisoning, milk allergy and illnesses in which the child has a high fever.
Call your doctor if you have any of the following signs below, which mean you have a high risk of becoming dehydrated or may have a more serious underlying condition.
You have been vomiting uncontrollably for more than 24 hours.
You have not been able to keep down fluids for 12 hours or more.
Your vomit is green. In this case you are probably bringing up bile, a fluid the digestive system uses to digest foods. This suggests you may have a blockage in your bowel.
There is blood in your vomit or what looks like coffee granules. This is a sign of a peptic ulcer.
You also have severe stomach pain.
You have diabetes and have been vomiting persistently and you need to take insulin.
The most important thing you can do when vomiting is to keep taking small sips of fluid so you don't become dehydrated. Drink water, squash, diluted fruit juice or semi-skimmed milk.
It is most important to thoroughly clean up and remove the vomit to reduce the spread of infection and to wash your hands before touching food or your mouth.