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What is a Vomit Bag?

By Felicia Dye
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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A vomit bag is a receptacle used to contain regurgitated matter. These are commonly found on public transportation vehicles, especially airplanes. They may also be used by pregnant women or for health care services. They are generally single-use items.

It is common for people to become nauseated and vomit when an airplane ascends. This problem also tends to occur during moments of turbulence. There is such a connection between vomit bags and airplanes that these receptacles are sometimes called air sickness bags. This can be misleading, however, because these items may be found and used on other forms of transportation such as trains or buses.

The vomit bags on public transportation vehicles are usually made of paper that has been manufactured in a manner that allows it to contain liquid. The receptacle can come in any number of colors and it may contain the transportation company’s logo. The bags can usually be found neatly folded in the back of a seat. Some have wire strips across the top that help a person easily roll them down and close them. A vomit bag is generally a disposable receptacle so it can be thrown away once it is used.

Vomit bags are not always used by travelers. Women who suffer from morning sickness may carry the receptacles. They are also used in facilities such as nursing homes, hospitals, and for home health care. The style of vomit bag used for one of these purposes may differ from those on a public transportation vehicle.

The differences may include the material used to manufacture the vomit bag and its features. Those used in a health care setting are more likely to be made of plastic. Some of these have features that will convert liquid contents into a gel, which makes it more sanitary and reduces the likelihood of spillage. Many models are also designed to reduce the odors that emit from the vomit.

Other differences that can be found in vomit bags are the manner in which they close. Some may have plastic zipper seals, while others may have draw strings. Since these items tend to be disposable no matter which material they are made of or which features they have, it is rare to find them for sale individually. The smallest available quantity is generally a pack, which can vary in number from one supplier to another.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By Reminiscence — On Feb 10, 2014

I've actually heard of people collecting airplane vomit bags as souvenirs. The most valuable kinds are from obscure airlines or airlines no longer in existence. Of course, they only collect bags that have not seen active duty.

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