Best pre-puking practices? (Non alcohol related, non bulimia related)
January 27, 2006 10:01 AM   Subscribe

A stomach bug is making its way through my system and the puking part is approaching. Best pre-puking practices?

So, my wife and son each had a stomach bug this week. First symptom was the runs. This led nicely into several hours of puking.

Now, I have the runs. I am most likely only a few hours away from some serious puking.

So far I haven't eaten anything today. I had my coffee this morning before things got started and have just had some water since then. I took a little Pepto Bismol too.

What do you recommend? Should I eat something or just vomit up water? Your suggestions are welcome and appreciated
posted by poppo to Health & Fitness (44 answers total)
You want to stay hydrated, obviously.

I prefer Smartwater when we're sick, either plain or flavored. I don't care for the artificial colors and flavors of other commercial electrolyte drinks like Gatorade or Powerade.
posted by padraigin at 10:10 AM on January 27, 2006

Lots of water, and have some electrolyte drinks ready for when the pukes have passed.

I also found that Pepsi or Coke, poured and allowed to go flat and at room-temperature, helped settle my stomach.

I had this a few weeks ago and had to force myself to drink because the retching and heaving on an empty stomach was painful. It was easier to drink water that I knew I would soon bring up again.

Good luck, poppo.
posted by essexjan at 10:19 AM on January 27, 2006

Once when I had the stomach flu, a consulting nurse told me to just have a sip of water/electrolyte-drink every 10 minutes or so. That way you get enough water to absorb, but you don't have a big pool of liquid in your stomach just waiting to get vomited up. This is third-hand information, so take it as you will, but it seemed to make a difference for me.
posted by matildaben at 10:20 AM on January 27, 2006

Good luck indeed poppo. But you don't necessarily want to drink plain water when you have the runs since it will just go through your system quickly and not keep you hydrated. Take some rehydration solution (from pharmacies) or something like Lucozade (in the UK). Ask from your pharmacy or have your wife ask. My thoughts are with you. Good thing is that if it's just a stomach bug it will go away quickly.
posted by keijo at 10:22 AM on January 27, 2006

You may want to make any liquid you drink (I prefer flat gingerale, myself) room temperature. The only thing worse than puking up lots of liquid is puking up cold liquid. Very nasty feeling, and just makes me feel more chilled and miserable. Throwing up something instead of dry heaves is always better.
posted by Cyrie at 10:27 AM on January 27, 2006

Thank you so far. Clearly hydration is recommended. I have ginger ale, gatorade, and pedialyte at home and have removed them from the refrigerator.

What about eating? Should I just go in with an empty stomach?

What about drugs? Should I stick with Pepto Bismol? It does claim to be for nausea and upset stomach. Any other OTC drugs that are recommended?

There's still time dammit!
posted by poppo at 10:34 AM on January 27, 2006

have you considered prayer? :) hang in there!
posted by lisaj32 at 10:37 AM on January 27, 2006

Ginger is good for nausea (even Mythbusters showed it was good with motion sickness). Ginger tea or that super-strong ginger ale might help.
posted by unknowncommand at 10:42 AM on January 27, 2006

I would go with not eating and just take in liquids. Much nicer to puke liquids than solids. Trust me.
posted by keijo at 10:59 AM on January 27, 2006

Hydration: good
Caffeine and highly acidic drinks (like coffee): bad bad bad.

Anything you do eat should be soft and gooey, or that's what I've found when I know I have the pukies coming. Applesauce, soup, pudding, jello--no dairy, of course. Basically anything that's basically the same on the way down as on the way up.

And in contrast to what's posted above... if I have to puke, I'd much rather puke up nice cold liquid. Makes the whole experience less unpleasant.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 11:00 AM on January 27, 2006

Another hydration tip:

If liquids won't stay down, try sucking on chipped ice.

Chipped ice worked for me the time I was sick enough to need it. I haven't had the "opportunity" to try tiny sips of water, which would (theoretically) be tolerable to a sick stomach.
posted by wryly at 11:02 AM on January 27, 2006

Oh, and there is an OTC product called Emetrol that can immediately relieve nausea. It's remarkable, and quite a blessing when your stomach keeps wanting to expel its non-existent contents.

Emetrol is mostly glucose and fructose.
posted by wryly at 11:10 AM on January 27, 2006

Personally, I drink water at this point, or Sprite/7Up. Something's going to come up, and making sure whatever's in there is far more watery than solid makes it much easier. Plus, it seems to dilute any kind of stomach fluids that come up. I'm not entirely sure how good this is for someone, but I've always thought that since the same stuff was going to come up anyway, diluting it with water just makes it that much easier to deal with.

Once it starts, just let it go. Puke your guts out, rinse, brush your teeth, and take a nice hot bath. Relaxing a bit will do you some good.
posted by Saydur at 11:12 AM on January 27, 2006


If you're going to spend any amount of time on your knees in front of it, it helps if its sparkly clean.
posted by mrbill at 11:15 AM on January 27, 2006

Spicy and fatty foods supposedly increase acid production, and there's nothing nastier than acidic vomit.

I prefer to go in with a tiny bit of something mild on my stomach. It helps to buffer the acid, and it's a bit more pleasant coming up. Also, if you're lucky, it will stay long enough to make it into your system, and you'll need everything you can get.

Hydrate, of course, but do it in bits once the real nausea sets in.
posted by moira at 11:17 AM on January 27, 2006

mrbill: I know this is going to sound disgusting, but when I'm sick, I find a non-clean toilet helps hurry things along.
posted by o2b at 11:26 AM on January 27, 2006

Better than Pepto for nausea is Emetrol. The main ingredient is phosphoric acid, which is found in many sodas (and why sodas can be calming to your stomach).

I had a horrible puking episode with food poisoning, and this helped immensely.
posted by kimdog at 11:30 AM on January 27, 2006

An update so far: Runs have stopped (maybe because of the Pepto). Stomach nausea is still running high, but there has been no puking yet.

I have been taking a little bit of ginger ale at a time and have had four saltines.

Emetrol will be here in a few minutes.

Thank you so far.
posted by poppo at 11:35 AM on January 27, 2006

I'd recommend against an anti-emetic. I tend to trust my body in these sorts of situations... if you've got some bad bugs in your stomach, for goodness' sake, let 'em out.
posted by rxrfrx at 11:36 AM on January 27, 2006

I like water (salted if the puking lasts more than a day) and ice cream. If I know I am going to be vomiting I've found ice cream to be the best thing to have come back up. Avoid at all cost anything that is chunkier than apple sauce.
posted by Mitheral at 11:39 AM on January 27, 2006

Peppermint tea can help make your mouth taste not so blecchy in between pukes and sometimes ginger tea can help settle your stomach. I'd make both kinds and then add ice to make them more room temperature and then sip them.
posted by jessamyn at 11:43 AM on January 27, 2006

I just got through this yesterday.

In line with the "room temp" suggestions, you should pour a bunch of glasses of water now, and place them around the place (toilet, sink, by the bed, etc.) so you don't have to think about them later. Also, they acclimate to the temperature of the room.

I also found that once I was done heaving, standing up and putting my arms behind my head (like you do after running) helped the spasms in my stomach subside more quickly. Hunched over, they were cramping up. Standing up, they calmed down. YMMV.

Good luck.
posted by Alt F4 at 11:44 AM on January 27, 2006

I had this a couple of weeks ago, and got tired of puking small amounts, so I downed a litre of so of water in one shot and enjoyed the nice clean feeling I had once it all came back up 5 minutes later. Didn't vomit again after that. Results may vary.
posted by blue_beetle at 11:47 AM on January 27, 2006

If you are going to eat something - make sure its not spaghetti (I won't go into details!)
posted by floanna at 11:47 AM on January 27, 2006

I tend to go off any food I've eaten before puking and its usually a long time before i can eat it again. It took me over a year to start eating sushi again after one particularly bad night.

If this happens to you as well, I would suggest not eating any of your favorite foods. They may end up not being favorites anymore.
posted by gfrobe at 11:50 AM on January 27, 2006

If this happens to you as well, I would suggest not eating any of your favorite foods. They may end up not being favorites anymore.

This is an excellent point.
posted by rxrfrx at 12:06 PM on January 27, 2006

Update: Still waiting. My wife says based on her experience with this bug that I won't get sick until tonight.

The Emetrol seems to help temporarily (rxrfrx, it was 2 votes to 1, went with majority). Still on ginger ale and water.
posted by poppo at 12:36 PM on January 27, 2006

If the runs continue, you might want to have a place to puke available to you if you find yourself sitting on the pot. I speak from experience that cleaning up the bath tub afterward is not a pleasant experience.
posted by mmascolino at 12:45 PM on January 27, 2006

I know that this works for women with morning sickness - 25mgs of Vitamin B-6 & a Unisom. Don't know if it's work for a man with the flu, YMMV.
posted by echolalia67 at 12:46 PM on January 27, 2006

Ganja is an effective anti-emetic. If you know you haven't eaten bad food, why puke if you don't have to?
posted by zadcat at 1:21 PM on January 27, 2006

mmascolino has it -- put an empty trash can or easily cleanable bucket in the bathroom.
posted by mikeh at 1:52 PM on January 27, 2006

I know what you mean, gfrobe. I had the stomach flu about 10 years ago after eating black bean soup, and I still have a distaste for black bean soup.
posted by matildaben at 2:46 PM on January 27, 2006

Ohno this is so awful! I second the warm ginger ale thought and suggest laying off most solid food. Not sure about meds. Try having a good carpet in the bathroom so your legs won't get cold; it's easy to get the chills in there, though sometimes cold is good. Maybe a blanket in there, and a pillow? Have two wet washcloths or some paper towels in there, too.

Good luck poppo!
posted by onlyconnect at 4:01 PM on January 27, 2006

Is your bathroom carpeted? The last time I had a nasty 24 hour bug, I fainted in between vomiting episodes, and it's much safer to faint on something padded.
posted by amber_dale at 4:12 PM on January 27, 2006

The one solid-ish food I'll suggest (besides a few saltines) if you do find you're getting a little hungry is unsweetened applesauce, room temperature or just slightly chilled. Don't eat a lot, obviously -- just small spoonfuls here and there.
posted by scody at 4:28 PM on January 27, 2006

Ginger ale. Not the extra ginger, just lots of room temp ginger ale. I hope your wife is feeling enough better to get you a fresh cool washcloth to wash your face. Rinse your mouth out well and brush with plain water. When you're well enough to eat a little, chicken broth. Good luck.
posted by theora55 at 6:19 PM on January 27, 2006

posted by five fresh fish at 6:27 PM on January 27, 2006

anybody else waiting on the edge of their seats to find out what happened?


okay, well, i am.

posted by sergeant sandwich at 7:16 PM on January 27, 2006

This recent strain of GI bug is particularly nasty. Last month, a co-worker's husband came down with it, and the violent retching caused a Mallory-Weiss tear. He almost died from the ensuing hemorrhage and spent 10 days in ICU.

In general, when an illness causes this much vomiting, I recommend anti-emetics. Consult your doctor.
posted by ikkyu2 at 8:32 PM on January 27, 2006

Hello all. It is the morning after and I am here to happily announce that I never threw up, nausea and runs are gone, and I feel great!

I don't know exactly what I did yesterday to prevent this, but I am going to list my regimen for you and future generations:

A cup of coffee (but this was before I felt ill)
A couple of glasses of water in the morning
Pepto Bismol (approximately 4 Tb spread over a several hours)
Probably a total of one glass of ginger ale over the whole day
Four saltines
Two spoonfuls of Emetrol
Maalox (approximately two tablespoons late in the day. Eseentially the same as Pepto but tasted better)
One dose of Imodium AD
One yogurt (a lady in the supermarket said the enzymes in the yogurt would eat my stomach flu bacteria...could this have been the secret?!?)
One plain powered miso soup package
One tablespoon of Maalox before I went to bed
One cup of mint tea before I went to bed

Thank you all! I haven't really decided on best answers yet, but I will come back and revisit this. Maybe someone can comment on whether they think the yogurt may have saved the day, or whether it was something else.
posted by poppo at 4:38 AM on January 28, 2006 [1 favorite]

yay for poppo!

for future info, i had my doctor prescribe for me compazine 10 mg tablets, but instead the pharmacy only had 10 mg prochlorperazine, which worked just fine.

last summer i had very very very stupidly taken too many OTC painkillers to try to control tooth-nerve pain, and ended-up so terribly sick to my stomach. one 10 mg pill worked to counteract the nausea as well as the heaving :( scary times, but the pills saved me.
posted by naxosaxur at 12:05 PM on January 28, 2006

In order to calm my stomach, I lie down and put an ice pack on it. On the left side above the belly button I think is where your stomach actually is.
posted by radioamy at 12:48 PM on January 28, 2006

Hehehe congrats! Sorry I missed this thread, but for future reference: if you know that you're going to vomit (for whatever reason), even if Pepto or Maalox doesn't prevent the vomiting, it will make it come up MUCH more smoothly. :)
posted by antifuse at 2:03 PM on January 28, 2006

Hey all thanks again. For those who are "best answer crazy", just wanted to let you know I selected the first best answers. For example, hydration was mentioned by many, so I simply clicked the first mention of it.

Also, I "best answered" my own list of ingredients since it solved the problem.
posted by poppo at 7:47 AM on January 30, 2006

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