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Lisa, MSN, FNP-BC, CCRN, Nurse Practitioner
Category: Health
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Experience:  Board Certified Family Nurse Practitioner
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My Dad is 87 in fairly good health. Only meds are for

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My Dad is 87 in fairly good health. Only meds are for thyroid and for enlarged prostate. Had colon cancer 20years ago and stays current with colonoscopies and medical issues. He is in Texas visiting with us and became ill yesterday afternoon. He has been vomiting and had diaherrea. He kept down oatmeal this am. For lunch; he had chicken noodle soup--it came back up. He had hot tea a bit ago and it came back up. Am concerned about dehydration. No fever. Should we go to the er? Should we give it until tomorrow?
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Health
Expert:  Lisa, MSN, FNP-BC, CCRN replied 7 years ago.


Thank you for writing in today. I would like to ask a few other questions, and I'll be able to advise you better. Does he have any chronic illnesses not mentioned, such as diabetes, heart, or kidney problems? What medications and supplements does he take? Was he able to take his meds today and keep them down? Is he still drinking liquids? Can you estimate how much liquid has been taken and kept down? How many times has he urinated in the last 8 hours and the approximate amount (small, med, large amount)? Does he feel that there is any improvement? Any symptoms not mentioned, such as abdominal bloating? Is anyone else in the home ill? Any recent known exposure to ill persons with similar symptoms? I realize you may not know how to answer all of these questions, but any information is helpful when advising. Please let me know. Lisa

Customer: replied 7 years ago.

He takes Centrum Silver, flowmax,levothroxine,vit c, iron. I asked if he thinks he kept anything down today. He said no. He did take all he meds this am. He is very healthy for his age--no other illness or problems. He has not been able to keep even water down this afternoon and evening. He said he believes he has urinated; but due to the diahreea, he is not sure if he has or not. He feels the same now as he did this am-so no improvement. No one in the house has this. A few weeks ago, the grandkids had something and it was a 24hr flu. (they visit here frequently).

Expert:  Lisa, MSN, FNP-BC, CCRN replied 7 years ago.

Thank you for responding to the question. At this point, it is a bit of a judgment call. By default, any unexplained vomiting and diarrhea, that continues for a significant amount of time, should always be evaluated in anyone with a significant gastrointestinal history, which includes colon cancer (even if it was 20 years ago). Now, with this being said, it is quite possible for anyone to get a gastric bug, especially when that person has been traveling. So far this is still an acute situation, and it could be potentially self-limiting. Believe it or not, the vomiting with the diarrhea is more indicative of a viral illness than say vomiting alone. At this point, waiting till the am to see how he feels really depends on his current condition and health. If he is already starting to develop significant dehydration or has a history of decompensating quickly during periods of illness, he may want to consider earlier evaluation. If he feels comfortable waiting and tends to endure acute illness well, then he could consider evaluation in the am and increasing hydration tonight. At any rate, if his symptoms worsen, abdominal pain develops, or new symptoms are noted, I would have to recommend evaluation sooner than later. I hope this information will help him make a decision about the next step. If you or your father have additional questions, please let me know. Lisa

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