302 HIV and AIDS
Nausea and vomiting
If nausea and vomiting prevent a person from eating
or drinking, she can become weak, malnourished, and
dehydrated. For some people, nausea or vomiting may go
on day after day. Nausea and vomiting may be caused by:
• some medicines.
• problems with the stomach and intestines.
• HIV infection itself.
• Take small bites of dry food (bread, crackers,
chapati, tortilla) when you wake up in the morning.
• Try to avoid the smell of food as it cooks. If a
food or smell seems to cause nausea, avoid that food.
• Drink small amounts of mint, ginger, or cinnamon tea.
• Lick a lemon.
• Clean the teeth and rinse the mouth often, to get rid of the
bad taste after vomiting.
• Let fresh air into the house or room often.
• Soak a cloth in cool water and put it on the forehead.
• If the problem is caused by a medicine, see if another
medicine can be used instead.
If vomiting is severe:
1. Do not drink or eat for 2 hours.
2. Then, for the next 2 hours, sip 3 tablespoons of water, rehydration
drink, or other clear liquid every hour. Slowly increase the amount
of liquid to 4 to 6 tablespoonfuls every hour. If the person does
not vomit, keep increasing the amount of liquid.
3. If the person cannot stop vomiting, use promethazine 25 mg to
50 mg every 6 hours as needed by mouth or in the rectum (see
page 513). When vomiting starts to improve, the person will
probably prefer to continue taking the medicine only by mouth.
4. As nausea gets better, start to eat small amounts of food again.
Start with plain foods such as bread, rice, cassava, or porridge.
When to get help:
• The person cannot keep any food or drink in her body for
• The person vomiting has pain in the belly or a high fever.
• The vomiting is very strong, it is dark green or dark brown, it
smells like stool, or has blood in it.
• The person has signs of dehydration.
Where Women Have No Doctor 2012