Vomiting, is the inverted vermicular motion of the muscular fibres of the stomach and intestines ; being attended with convulsions of the abdominal muscles and midriff: when this action is so mild as to be confined to the stomach, it is then termed nausea. - As vomiting is a frequent symptom in other diseases, especially in fevers, we shall here consider it only as a primary complaint.
Causes: - Crudities accumulated in the stomach; such as bile; mucus ; hard, indigestible food ; scirrhus, and other organic affections ; acrid and poisonous substances taken by the mouth; worms; ruptures; nephritic complaints, or stone, as well as violent passions.
Cure : - If the stomach be foul; or if hurtful substances have been swallowed, emetics should be administered in the manner described, vol. ii. p. 225 ; but, in cases where poisons have been taken, the antidotes recommended under their respective heads, should first be resorted to; and the cure be completed by strengthening medicines. In callosity, or scirrhosity of the stomach, benefit has often been derived from the internal use of soap, mercurials, and other alteratives. - Worms require the treatment already suggested, for their expulsion. - If vomiting has been induced by violent passions, especially by anger and vexation; it will be advisable to take a tea-spoonful of vitriolated kali in spring-water, and, on the following morning, from 10 to 15 grains of powder of rhubarb: the beverage should consist of barley-water, and other diluents, with cream of tartar, and a few grains of nitre. Persons of an irritable temper, and consequently more liable to a return of this complaint, ought at least to abstain from spirituous liquors, and high-seasoned food.
Where the vomiting, or nausea, continues after the stomach is cleansed, about a scruple of salt of wormwood should be taken in water ; and immediately after, two tea-spoonfuls of lemon-juice in the same liquid; which remedy may be repeated every two or three hours ; drinking balm-tea in the intervals. The Columbo-root has, likewise, been of great service in these cases.
Infants at the breast are often troubled with vomiting: if the milk be coagulated, and the stools have a similar appearance, or a green colour, and an acid odour, the testaceous powder should be given, as directed p. 196 of this volume, after which, the infant ought to drink pure whey ; but, during the attack, luke-warm water must be administered in copious draughts: farther, a mixture of sweet-oil and laudanum may be rubbed in, or warm cushions filled with aromatic plants, be applied to the pit of the stomach. If such vomiting be followed by great debility, a few tea-spoonfuls of mulled red-wine, with a little nutmeg, may be allowed with benefit; though this practice should never be adopted on trivial occasions.