Vomiting is a common symptom of many different issues, including viruses, food poisoning and some underlying health issues.
While persistent vomiting or severe dehydration requires immediate medical intervention, mild vomiting is often managed at home by replacing fluids and electrolytes to prevent or treat dehydration. Once you stop vomiting, you can return to some solid foods.
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- Vomiting can be caused by a number of issues, like viruses or bacteria.
- Clear liquids like broth and diluted fruit juice are good for rehydration.
- Bland foods like toast, hot cereal and applesauce are soothing to the stomach.
- Call your doctor if vomiting persists and you experience symptoms of dehydration.
First, What Causes Vomiting?
There are several reasons your body would need to vomit, or empty the contents of your stomach, per the Cleveland Clinic:
Washing your hands regularly is one of the best defenses against stomach viruses and bacteria. Make sure you scrub with warm water and soap for at least 30 seconds, per the Cleveland Clinic.
What to Drink After Vomiting
After throwing up, fluid replacement is essential to counter and prevent dehydration — the most common complication of vomiting, per the Mayo Clinic. Some good beverages to drink after vomiting include:
1. Clear Liquids
After a single episode of vomiting, when dehydration symptoms such as dry mouth or reduced urine production are not yet present, adults can consume clear liquids to replenish lost fluids, per the Cleveland Clinic. These include:
- Diluted fruit juices
Undiluted fruit juice and most other sugar-sweetened drinks are not recommended, as the sugar concentration in these beverages may lead to cramping or diarrhea, per Harvard Health Publishing.
2. Oral Rehydration Solutions
Another way to rehydrate after vomiting, for children and adults, is an an oral rehydration solution (ORS), such as Pedialyte, Infalyte or Rehydrate.
These drinks aid in recovery by providing the optimal concentration of sugars and certain electrolytes, including sodium, potassium and bicarbonate, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
ORS use in children is particularly important and recommended because dehydration and electrolyte loss in children can more quickly escalate to a serious situation, per the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP).
The AAFP also recommends giving frequent, small sips of ORS to children and adults within 10 to 60 minutes of vomiting (infants who are breastfed or formula-fed should continue their current feeding plan and not use ORS).
Foods to Eat After Throwing Up
If you're wondering what to eat after throwing up all night, the answer will depend on your symptoms. If your throat hurts after throwing up, you may still want to stick with liquids.
But if you can tolerate fluids and are no longer vomiting, you can start eating solid foods, such as the following:
1. The BRAT Diet
Traditionally, bland foods have been recommended to settle a stomach after throwing up — most notably the BRAT diet, which stands for bananas, rice, applesauce and toast.
This diet is supposed to help by making your stool firmer, as all the foods are low-fiber, bland and starchy, per the Cleveland Clinic.
However, the BRAT diet is no longer widely recommended, especially for more than a meal or two, because it's too restrictive and does not provide optimal nourishment for recovery, per the CDC.
Instead, as symptoms subside, a gradual transition back to normal foods, including fruits and vegetables, is recommended, per Advanced Pediatric Associates.
2. Bland Foods
Broth-based soup is good to eat after throwing up, along with other comfort foods like potatoes, hot cereal and crackers. There are also some fruits to eat after vomiting, such as apples, pears and pureed fruits. However, there is no demonstrated benefit from this diet approach, per Merck Manuals.
What Are the Best Foods to Treat Nausea?
The same foods used to treat an upset stomach after throwing up can be used to treat nausea, too. However, adding things like ginger and peppermint or herbal tea can also help curb nausea and soothe an upset stomach.
Foods to Avoid After Throwing Up
- Spicy foods
- Salad/raw vegetables
- Milk/dairy products
- Fried foods
How Long Should You Wait to Eat After Throwing Up?
It's advised not to eat or drink anything for several hours after vomiting, except for sipping small amounts of water or sucking ice chips every 15 minutes for the following three to four hours.
After a few hours have passed, you can move to clear liquids, and then solid foods once the vomiting has subsided, per the University of Michigan.
How to Get Rid of Nausea
Besides getting plenty of fluids and eating bland foods, there are other things you can do to help reduce nausea, per the Cleveland Clinic:
- Eat slowly, and eat smaller, more frequent meals
- Drink beverages slowly
- Consume foods cold or at room temperature
- Avoid physical activity right after eating
- Suck on a popsicle or sour candy
- Lay in a position with your head elevated, especially after eating
- Avoid strong odors, which can trigger your gag reflex
If none of the above work, you can try taking medication to treat nausea (like prescription Zofran or over-the-counter Dramamine), or take an over-the-counter migraine medication if migraines are the culprit.
Talk to your doctor if you experience persistent nausea. They can help you come up with a plan to reduce this feeling and hopefully prevent vomiting, too.
When to See a Doctor
While most cases of vomiting resolve within the same day, sometimes medical attention is needed, per Merck Manuals.
It's especially important to monitor children who have vomited, as they can get easily dehydrated. Watch out for symptoms like dry mouth, crying without tears, less urination, irritability, tiredness and a sunken abdomen, per Nemours KidsHealth.
If vomiting persists, call your pediatrician and visit the nearest emergency room, especially if your child is unwilling to drink Pedialyte, or if dehydration symptoms are present.
Adults should also seek medical care if they have persistent vomiting, are unable to drink more than a few sips of liquid or if they have signs of severe dehydration such as cracked lips, little or no urine output or severe weakness, per the Mayo Clinic.
You should also see your doctor if you have symptoms like abdominal swelling, ongoing pain or tenderness, blood in the vomit, bloody stool or if the vomiting accompanies a recent head injury, headache, stiff neck or confusion.
- American Academy of Pediatrics: Treating Vomiting
- American Family Physician: Gastroenteritis in Children: Part II. Prevention and Management
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Managing Acute Gastroenteritis Among Children
- Cleveland Clinic: "Nausea and Vomiting"
- University of Michigan: "Diarrhea and Vomiting"
- Advanced Pediatric Associates: "Vomiting (Age 1-5)
- University of Connecticut: "Nausea, Vomiting and Diarrhea"
- Cleveland Clinic: "What to Eat When You Have Diarrhea"
- Cleveland Clinic: "Vomiting 101: Why You Throw Up and the Best Way To Recover"
- Neumors KidsHealth: "Dehydration"
- Mayo Clinic: "Cyclic Vomiting"
- Harvard Health Publishing: "Is something in your diet causing diarrhea?"
- CDC: "Rehydration Therapy"
- American Institute for Cancer Research: Nutrition During Cancer Treatment
Is this an emergency? If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, please see the National Library of Medicine’s list of signs you need emergency medical attention or call 911.