What does the dietary term NPO mean?

 Dr. Kathleen Handal, MD
Emergency Medicine
The dietary term assigned to someone who is not allowed to eat or drink anything, including ice chips, is NPO. Where did the term NPO come from? Well, “per os” is Latin for “by mouth” and “N” stands for “nil” which you know means "nothing." Thus, NPO means nothing by mouth, no exceptions. Some doctors will order: “NPO except for ice chips and medications.” Or they’ll order “clear liquids,” which typically consists of water, Jell-O, ginger ale, and Italian ice. Don’t cheat. Diet orders are written for a reason. If you’re unclear why you’re assigned a certain diet, simply ask.
Doc's ER Survival Guide (DocHandal's Guides)

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Doc's ER Survival Guide (DocHandal's Guides)

Few people get through life without at least one trip to the emergency room (ER), either as a patient or support person for a family member or friend. Doc’s ER Survival Guide is designed to help...

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.