Yuck – It Happens To Everyone

by Jo-Ann Heslin, MA, RD, CDN on October 12, 2017 · 0 comments

Vomiting and diarrhea – caused by a virus, bacteria, foodborne microbes, or an infection, are both common, uncomfortable and usually last only a few hours or days.

Diarrhea – beside the usual causes, diarrhea can also be caused by stress, drugs, or if prolonged it may be a sign of a more serious condition. High doses of vitamin C, antibiotics, drinking too much apple juice, or eating large amounts of sugar-free foods or gums sweetened with sorbitol or mannitol can also cause diarrhea. If it lasts more than 2 days it is wise to visit your doctor. For small children, diarrhea lasting more than 1 day needs medical attention; for babies call your doctor if it lasts more than 12 hours. Children become dehydrate quickly.

It was once believed that eating nothing was the way to stop diarrhea, but the current thinking is the opposite. Withholding food and fluids can lead to dehydration. Eat anything you’d like except fatty foods or foods high in sugar. Fruit juice, sweetened drinks and milk may make the problem worse. Apples, bananas, rice, cottage cheese, dry toast, crackers, pretzels and tea are all good food choices in addition to plain water. Chicken soup may be a very helpful choice. Doctors have learned that protein, starch and salty fluids, ingredients found in chicken noodle or chicken rice soup, can increase the body’s ability to absorb water and sodium. These ingredients replace loses that occur with diarrhea.

Vomiting – is the process of getting rid of or throwing up material from the stomach through the esophagus and out the mouth. It is the body’s way to get rid of something irritating. Vomiting is usually caused by an infection or a foodborne illness but it can be triggered by too much alcohol or caffeine, stress and motion sickness.

Do not eat anything immediately after vomiting. Just relax and let your digestive tract calm down. After an hour with no further vomiting, try a little water. If this stays down, slowly add other drinks such as ice chips, ice pops, tea or ginger ale. Then try crackers, dry toast, pretzels, bananas, applesauce, plain rice or plain pasta. A home remedy for vomiting is the thick syrup in canned fruit. For teens and adults take 2 tablespoons every 10 to 15 minutes, or younger children 2 to 3 teaspoons. It sounds crazy but it often works.

Vomiting causes weakness, mild dehydration and the loss of important minerals including sodium, magnesium and chloride. Most cases last for a very short time. Prolonged vomiting can lead to severe dehydration and is serious. If you vomit profusely or if vomiting continues for more than 24 hours, call your doctor. For small children or babies check with your doctor after a few hours, especially if your child is refusing fluids.

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