Day-to-Day Care


Observation:  Vomitus


When the muscles of the stomach wall are irritated, the contents of the stomach are ejected as vomitus. Vomiting  is a manifestation of a large number of conditions, many of which are not primary disorders of the gastrointestinal tract.  Regardless of cause, vomiting can have serious consequences, including electrolyte depletion, malnutrition, dehydration and aspiration pneumonia.

When vomiting is anticipated, you should keep a basin or plastic bags for this purpose close at hand.  If the person is lying in bed, turn him on his side so that he will not choke or aspirate the vomitus into his lungs. Hold the basin against his cheek and under his chin to collect the content.  Provides water for the person to gargle after the episode.
When observing vomitus, the following should be noted:


Did the person feel any nausea or pain prior to vomiting and whether or not the pain was relieved by vomiting?

When the person last had his meal?

Is the vomit projectile, that is forcefully ejected?  Projectile vomiting often travel several feet and is more common in children than in adults.  It can be a symptom of congenital hypertrophic pyloric stenosis in infants.  In adult, projectile vomiting is usually associated with pyloric muscle spasm due to scarring from a peptic ulcer or it happens after a head injury.  It can also be a symptom of poisoning or drug-overdose where the body aggressively trying to rid itself of a toxin.

What is the content of vomitus?  Note if it contains partially digested food or resembled a clear watery fluid or a yellow or green sticky fluid.

Red blood indicates that the bleeding began shortly before the vomiting.  If the blood is black or appears dark brown and has the texture of old coffee grounds, the blood has been in your stomach for a longer time.

If the vomitus smell foul like faeces, make a note of the fact.


Consult your doctor if you are concerned about the vomitus, especially if you notice blood in it.


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