About the Illness

There are many causes for nausea and vomiting. Almost any sickness with high fever or severe pain may cause vomiting. Usually vomiting is harmless, but it can be a sign of a more serious condition like concussion, meningitis, intestinal blockage or appendicitis. Someone vomiting is at risk of dehydration. It is important for them to rehydrate during treatment for nausea and to keep looking out for signs of dehydration.


General causes of nausea and vomiting: Pregnancy; drug side effects; food poisoning; stress; painful menstrual periods; bad smells (including food cooking); worm infestation.


Illness that can cause vomiting: Malaria; hepatitis; tonsillitis; earache; urinary infection; migraine headache.


Common Symptoms

Uneasy stomach, feeling like being sick; vomiting; loss of appetite; sharp stomach pains; dizziness.

Children’s Issues

Dehydration is a particular danger when children are vomiting.

Important Information

You should seek professional help if:

    • Dehydration increases and you cannot control it.
    • Vomiting is severe and lasts more than 24 hours.
  • Vomiting is violent, especially if vomit is dark green, brown, or smells like faeces.

There are signs of an obstructed gut.

    • You experience constant pain in the gut, especially when you cannotdefecate or someone can hear gurgles when they put their ear to yourbelly.
    • You are vomiting blood.
  • Medication is causing nausea.

Herbal Therapy

If you have tried the General Advice and are still feeling sick then try one of the following remedies:

Tamarind good for all

Suck the fruit or chew the leaves.

Guava Leaf Infusion good for all

Crush 3 fresh leaves and soak them in 1 glass cold water for 15 minutes.

Lemon Leaf Infusion good for all

Soak 2-3 fresh leaves in 1 glass warm water for 5-10 minutes.

Sugar Cane good for all


If you actually start to vomit, then one of these remedies should help you stop:

Tamarind Leaves good for all

Chew them.

Guava Leaf Tea good for all

Boil 2-3 leaves in 1 glass water.

Ficus sycomorus Solution good for all

Make a small cut in the trunk to collect the milky sap.
Dissolve 3 drops of sap 1/4 glass water.
Drink 1 glass.
(All children: dilute 3 drops in 1/4 glass water and feed them as much as they will drink.)

Food and Nutrition Advice


  • Keep feeding yourself as often as possible. As soon as you are able to accept food, take frequent meals of foods you like and can eat.


  • Babies should keep taking breast milk.


  • Take cooked foods that are soft, mashed, moist and easy to eat.


  • Foods to Avoid: Fatty foods; meat; milk; coffee/tea; alcohol; spicy foods; acidic green vegetables (spinach and mchicha); pawpaw.


  • Foods to Eat: Steamed rice; millet porridge; finger millet; watermelon; banana; green vegetables (moringa, susa, mitto, mnavu); and fermented milk (maziwa mala) which is easy to digest and helps restore healthy bacteria to your stomach.


Body Work and General Advice

If you are feeling sick and experiencing nausea, first:

  • Loosen your clothing so you can breathe properly.
  • Avoid eating any food that is fatty, greasy or sweet.
  • Stay away from bad smells.
  • Don’t prepare your food yourself.
  • Sit up when eating.
  • Rest between meals, but do not lie completely flat. Raise your upper body 4 inches above your feet for 2 hours after eating.

The best way to stop yourself becoming dehydrated is to drink rehydration liquids every time you vomit. Adults need to drink 2 litres of water per day, but may need up to 3 litres if they have been vomiting. Try the following rehydration drinks:

ORS (Oral Rehydration Solution) Dissolve 1/2 level tsp salt and 8 level tsp sugar in 1 ltr clean water. (Add salt first and taste to make sure it is less salty than tears before adding sugar). Drink as often as necessary.

Cereal Drink Add 1/2 level tsp salt and 8 heaped tsp powdered cereal to 1 ltr clean water . Boil for5-7 minutes to make a liquid gruel. Cool the drink quickly and start giving to patient. The best cereals to use for this are powdered rice, finely ground maize, wheat flour, sorghum or mashed potatoes.

Coconut Water (Maji ya Madafu) Feed children with as much of this as they can take.

Symptoms of dehydration include: On pinching or lifting someone’s skin between your two fingers, it doesn’t fall back to normal when you let go; dark urine or a very small amount of it; rapid heart rate; headaches; flushed, dry skin; irritability and confusion.


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