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How well do you deal with vomit

Nurses   (3,763 Views 19 Comments)
by Infofreak411 Infofreak411 (New Member) New Member

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If someone in the hospital shows symptoms of vomiting and gastrointestinal distress, how do they distinguish if its caused by something contagious such as norovirus or if its a non contagious cause such as food poisoning.

In the case it is norovirus, what measures do nurses take to prevent getting it?

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classicdame works as a Hospital Education Coordinator and adjunct nursing.

2 Likes; 2 Articles; 25,948 Visitors; 7,255 Posts

swabbing the nares for flu is easy. The MD will have to decide about lab tests and other clinical manifestations. Taking adequate history - sometimes the MD has to wait till another symptom appears.

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calivianya works as a Registered Nurse.

35,143 Visitors; 2,418 Posts

The nasal swabs for flu are great - when people actually use them, which isn't that often where I work. As far as norovirus goes, there is no handy swab, so just wash your hands, wash your hands, wash your hands, and wash your hands some more! Hope and pray it isn't norovirus and that you haven't already caught it, and wash your hands until someone figures it out. That's all you can do at first.

I have found that nurses in general are pretty careful with the patients and their nasties - we're a lot more likely to catch gross things from each other. The last time I had norovirus it was because a coworker got it from his kid in middle school... it just about wiped out the whole unit for a couple of weeks.

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pookyp works as a LPN.

16,148 Visitors; 1,073 Posts

I've wondered the same thing. All you can do is wash your hands. I read somewhere that the norovirus can be airborne. Something about particles or droplets in the air from the sick person just floating around.. Don't know how true that is.

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4,517 Visitors; 145 Posts

Vomit is the one major thing that freaks me out! Its not that it grosses me out its just the sound of the heaving and the site that gives me anxiety. I can't even explain it!

I think its more the underlying fear that I assume the person who is vomiting has something that's very contagious that they can spread so I don't want to be near them if they are actively vomiting.

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HouTx has 35 years experience and works as a Manager, eLearning & Clinical Development.

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We all have something that is our kryptonite. Despite many years of ICU practice, I have never been able to tolerate lugies.... phlegm, hawking and spitting - :scrying: Honestly, there is just something about it that induces a huge case of queasy. I would go to great lengths to avoid assisting with extubations (unavoidable lugie exposure). My nightmare? The COPD 'hawker' who thinks it's OK just to spit. Heck, I'd rather deal with a full-blown lower GI Bleed.

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Cuddleswithpuddles has 11 years experience and works as a RN.

12,417 Visitors; 667 Posts

I am fine with the act of vomiting. What I hate is the treatment of nausea. It seems to be very, very hit-and-miss. There are days when I wonder if Zofran is just water in a vial. Some patients just puke their guts out all day and there does not seem to be anything I can do about it other than keep them clean. That is sad and frustrating.

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Esme12 works as a emergency ,critical care,cath lab,open heart,traum.

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Most people are vomiting because of another reason and not something that is contagious. If you wear gloves you are good.

I don't like it in my shoes or on my clothes. You get very good at not being vomited on.

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Esme12 works as a emergency ,critical care,cath lab,open heart,traum.

16 Likes; 3 Followers; 3 Articles; 145,727 Visitors; 20,896 Posts

duplicate threads merged as per the TOS

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~PedsRN~ has 4 years experience and works as a Pediatric Nurse.

9,979 Visitors; 826 Posts

I dont mind puke. :) If we have a kid up to the floor who is barfing and pooping and the entire nine yards, we will usually place them on enteric precautions. WASH YOUR HANDS!!!!!

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RunBabyRN has 2 years experience.

26,446 Visitors; 3,677 Posts

If I know the etiology (post-op pain vs. noro, for example), that makes a difference for me. It doesn't bother me NEARLY as much as I feared it would. If I know they are contagious, I'll mask up with them just in case, but my patients (postpartum and the occasional hysterectomy) are generally healthy, so it's not too concerning. We did have a septic patient a few months ago, who *finally* got moved off our floor, but she was vomiting a ton. I spent a lot of time with her, supporting her through that. I wore gloves and a mask and washed my hands well.

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8,598 Visitors; 784 Posts

I didn't deal well with vomit before becoming a nurse. In 4 months of nursing, I'm starting to become less bothered by it. Last night a patient vomited in the sink and I had the distinct pleasure of cleaning the chunks out to drain the sink. In the past, I would have likely needed a good upchuck ofmy own for this, but I managed quite well if I do say so myself, LOL

I think, for the most part, people don't just vomit for no reason. They're post-op, on narcs, GI issues (outside of poisoning/viruses), etc...

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