Healthdirect Free Australian health advice you can count on.

Medical problem? Call 1800 022 222. If you need urgent medical help, call triple zero immediately

healthdirect Australia is a free service where you can talk to a nurse or doctor who can help you know what to do.

beginning of content

Vomiting self care

If you have been vomiting (being sick) there are a number of things you can do to help manage the condition. Here is some self-help information:

  • Eat normally – do not starve yourself. If you are hungry, eat regular meals.
  • Maintain good personal hygiene – you can do this by ensuring that you and your family always wash your hands with soap and warm water before eating or handling food and after using the toilet, cleaning contaminated surfaces or handling garbage.
  • Clean surfaces – washing with detergent and water is a very effective way of removing germs from surfaces that you have touched.
  • Do not share personal items – use your own personal items, such as towels, toothbrushes, flannels or face cloths.
  • Food preparation – avoid handling or preparing food for others after you have been vomiting to avoid spreading germs.
  • To prevent the spread of infection, do not go swimming in a public pool for two weeks after your last episode of vomiting.
  • While you are unwell you should keep away from people who can easily pick up infections, such as newborn babies, pregnant women, older people and those with a lowered immune system.
  • If you have been vomiting, if you are in pain, get advice on medicines you can take.
  • Antibiotics are not usually given to treat diarrhoea or vomiting.

Avoid dehydration

You lose a lot of fluid when you have been vomiting, so it’s important to stay hydrated.

  • Re-hydration drinks are available over-the-counter from your local pharmacy and from some supermarkets. These drinks provide the correct balance of water, sugar and salt that your body needs. Follow the instructions on the packaging.
  • If children refuse to drink or can’t tolerate rehydration drinks, try diluting fruit juice or soft drink with water.
  • Sports drinks and energy drinks should be avoided as a rehydration fluid option. They have high sugar content that does not assist with rehydration.


You should continue to breastfeed your baby if you have vomited, but you should make sure you drink plenty of fluids to avoid getting dehydrated. Maintain good hygiene and speak to your midwife or doctor for further advice.

Contraceptive pill

Vomiting can affect the contraceptive pill (both the combined pill and mini pill). It can make the pill less effective at preventing pregnancy. Extra care must be taken if you wish to avoid pregnancy, such as using condoms. The effectiveness of the pill may not be back to normal for at least one week following diarrhoea and vomiting, making it necessary to continue extra precautions.

Not sure what to do next?

If you are still concerned about your vomiting, check your symptoms with healthdirect’s online Symptom Checker to get advice on when to seek medical attention.

The Symptom Checker guides you to the next appropriate healthcare steps, whether it’s self care, talking to a health professional, going to a hospital or calling triple zero (000).

Last reviewed: July 2015

Need more information?

These trusted information partners have more on this topic.

Found 528 results

Whooping cough self-care -

Whooping cough is an infection caused by bacteria, is more common in children under 5 years, and can have serious consequences. Find out what products are available for whooping cough.

Read more on myDr website

Self Management | Epilepsy Action Australia

Medications are only part of the management of epilepsy. Self management involves taking control of the way you think and feel about epilepsy. Learn more.

Read more on Epilepsy Action Australia website

Kidney and renal services - NT.GOV.AU

Contact information for renal units across the Northern Territory and home and community self-care dialysis therapies.

Read more on NT Health website

Colds: commonsense not antibiotics -

If you have a cold, commonsense self-care measures and over-the-counter medicines can help to relieve symptoms. Antibiotics are not helpful in treating the common cold, which is caused by a virus.

Read more on myDr website

Bulimia nervosa

Bulimia nervosa is characterised by eating large amounts of food and purging, for example by vomiting and or using laxatives. Between 1 and 3 per cent of young people experience bulimia nervosa.

Read more on WA Health website

Parenting and Child Health - Health Topics - Migraine

Migraine is the name given to a type of headache that can be severe, often felt on one side of the head (behind the eye) and lasting a couple of hours or up to a few days. People with a migraine headache often feel sick, and many will vomit during the headache. When the headache stops they may feel unwell for a few hours, but then they are completely well again.

Read more on Women's and Children's Health Network website

Eating Disorders

Information Sheets and Worksheets

Read more on Centre for Clinical Interventions website

Understanding eating disorders for young people

Read more on headspace website

Cough: productive or 'wet' cough treatments -

Treatment for a productive or wet cough: find out about different treatments and what not to do.

Read more on myDr website

Eating Disorders - Understanding the Warning Signs

There are physical, psychological and behavioural warning signs that can signal the onset or the presence of an eating disorder.

Read more on NEDC - National Eating Disorders Collaboration website

Check your symptoms Find a health service

Healthdirect 24hr 7 days a week hotline

24 hour health advice and information you can count on

1800 022 222

Government Accredited with over 140 information partners

We are a government-funded service, providing quality, approved health information

Australian Government, health department logo ACT Government logo New South Wales government, health department logo Northen Territory Government logo Government of South Australia, health department logo Tasmanian government logo Government of Western Australia, health department logo