How to Rehydrate After Throwing Up

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Make sure you keep down a small amount of fluid before attempting a whole glass.
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Vomiting is controlled by the brain, not the stomach, but most episodes are caused by food-related illness or mild stomach viruses. It can occur with or without nausea, and may be preceded by increased salivation. Vomiting in and of itself is not dangerous, but it can lead to dehydration. Rehydration must be done carefully to avoid triggering another episode and emptying the stomach of the consumed fluids. In some cases, vomiting may be a symptom of a larger problem, so keep an eye out for other symptoms as you attempt to rehydrate.

Step 1

Wait for the vomiting to stop. If you still feel nauseous, there is a chance you may vomit again after taking fluids, thereby losing the benefit of the fluid. Give your stomach some time to settle down.

Step 2

Drink 1 tsp. of cold, clear liquid like water, tea, or a sports drink with electrolytes. If you think you may be able to tolerate sweetness, try ginger ale; the ginger may also help calm your stomach.

Step 3

Take 1 tsp. of cold clear liquid every 10 minutes. If it seems to be staying down, increase to 1 tbsp. every half hour. If the liquid does not stay down, try allowing an ice chip to dissolve on your tongue.

Step 4

Increase the amount you drink slowly, and back off at the first sign of nausea. Once you have been taking small amounts of fluids successfully for about an hour, fill a small glass with your cold, clear beverage of choice and sip it slowly.

Step 5

Remain upright while taking fluids. Otherwise, you may fall asleep and vomit, allowing some of the vomit to enter your windpipe.

Step 6

Avoid food until you have been taking liquids for six hours without vomiting. Then, begin nibbling on small amounts of bland foods like white crackers or plain pasta.

Tip

Call your doctor if the vomiting lasts more than 24 hours, is accompanied by severe pain and headache or contains blood or bile.

Warning

If you suspect the vomiting is caused by ingesting a chemical or taking too much medication, call the Poison Control Center and 911. Keep the chemical’s container with you, so you can tell the doctors exactly what chemical you ingested.

Is This an Emergency?

To reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 infections, it is best to call your doctor before leaving the house if you are experiencing a high fever, shortness of breath or another, more serious symptom.
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