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September 19, 2018

Vomiting and Diarrhea: Emergency Room Tips

Vomiting and Diarrhea: Emergency Room Tips

Vomiting and diarrhea are among the most popular complaints recorded at the FrontLine ER.

To know if vomiting and diarrhea are emergencies, let us first understand what they are.

Vomiting is the expulsion of stomach contents from the stomach, via the mouth, typically via force. The actual causes can range from harmful foodborne bacteria, injury, acute illnesses, to gastroenteritis.

Diarrhea can be described as loose, watery, and frequent bowel movements. Acute diarrhea lasts for only a few days. Some people experience diarrhea as a result of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or severe stomach illness.

The Risks Associated with Vomiting and Diarrhea

Vomiting is particularly dangerous for children and the elderly as it could be an indication of severe illness in the form of appendicitis or intestinal blockages. It can also result in dehydration if the sessions do not decrease with time. FrontLine ER treats sudden vomiting as a medical emergency.

Diarrhea is critical especially when it leads to excessive amounts of dehydration in children and the seniors. Dehydration is likely to occur when diarrhea doesn’t stop with time. When diarrhea accompanies vomiting, dehydration intensifies, which makes it necessary for one to seek immediate medical care.

What Causes Vomiting and Diarrhea?

Vomiting can be the result of an infection, injury, or the presence of an acute illness. Here is a list of the most common reasons for vomiting:

  • Viruses, Bacteria, Parasites
  • Motion Sickness
  • Medications
  • Intense Pain
  • Pregnancy
  • Food-borne Illness
  • Heart Attack
  • Ulcers
  • Alcohol Poisoning

Some factors that can lead to diarrhea include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Food-borne illness, food allergies, and lactose intolerances
  • Viral and Bacterial infection
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
  • Diabetes
  • Certain medications
  • Overactive Thyroid
  • Alcohol abuse

What are the Vomiting and Diarrhea Symptoms?

While nausea and vomiting come unannounced, diarrhea can come along with different symptoms, some of which may be severe. The possible symptoms related to diarrhea include:

  • Abdominal pain and Cramps
  • Nausea and Bloating
  • Frequent urge to “go.”
  • Thin, watery stools
  • Dehydration and Fever

When to Seek Medical Attention

Most people experience vomiting when they have a severe illness. However, there are circumstances that may make it necessary for one to visit a doctor. Go to FrontLine ER in Richmond or Dallas Texas if you notice any of the following:

  • Vomiting or diarrhea that lasts over twelve hours straight.
  • A headache, fatigue, dizziness, loss of consciousness
  • Vomiting in infants or the elderly
  • Black or bloody stools and blood in vomit
  • Diarrhea associated with symptoms of dehydration.
  • Diarrhea and vomiting accompanied by fever
  • Yellowish color to your skin or the whites of your eyes

Treatment for Vomiting and Diarrhea

There are a variety of treatment options to consider depending on what has caused the occurrence of these conditions:

  1. Administration of IV Fluids

When dehydration occurs due to stomach illnesses, it becomes necessary to administer these fluids. Normal saline which contains sodium and chlorine or a dextrose solution may be used to treat dehydration.

  1. Medicine

Vomiting and diarrhea are considered ways in which your body uses to get rid of harmful substances such as bacteria.  The use of antiemetic (anti-vomiting) medications is prevalent.  However, it is only safe to use such medicines when your doctor at FrontLine ER tells you to do so.  Stomach illnesses are brought about by either bacteria or viruses, and the doctor should be in a position to distinguish between the two, to ensure that they get to prescribe the right medication.

Avoid medications such as aspirin or its substitutes as it can irritate your stomach and increase vomiting and diarrhea. Certain over-the-counter antihistamines can help control nausea and help soothe a stomach upset.

  1. Non-Medicinal Treatment Alternatives

Drink or sip clear liquids such as water or broth to combat dehydration. Avoid beverages like juices and sodas because they contain a lot of sugar and can make your diarrhea worse.

If you have acute vomiting, you might want to avoid sports drinks, since they do not have the right mix of water, sugar, and minerals. They can also worsen the symptoms. It’s best to use commercially available oral rehydration solutions.

If the thought of drinking something makes you nauseous, suck on ice chips until you can eat again. As your appetite resumes, you can continue with your regular diet. Discuss with your doctor which kind of foods you should avoid.

Pediatric Concerns

Vomiting shouldn’t be confused with “spitting up,” which is normal. The baby could be reacting to overfeeding, milk allergy, or intolerance to formula. Real vomiting in infants is intense; it upsets them and can quickly result in dehydration.

In older children, gastroenteritis is a widespread cause of vomiting and may come along with cramps, diarrhea, and fever. If a child vomits each time they attempt to take a drink of water; a visit to the emergency physician at FrontLine ER will be necessary for evaluation to be performed to try and prevent dehydration from progressing.

Emergency Care, Emergency Room