Vomiting & Nausea

Vomiting is when you throw up what is in your stomach. Nausea is when you feel like you’re going to throw up. Common causes of nausea and vomiting are:

  • Viruses in the intestines (You can get diarrhea, too).
  • Morning sickness in pregnant women.
  • Some medications.
  • Spoiled food.
  • Eating or drinking too much.

Some serious problems cause vomiting, too. These include:

  • Appendicitis.
  • Brain tumors.
  • Acute glaucoma.
  • Stomach ulcers.
  • Hepatitis – inflammation of the liver.
  • Meningitis – inflammation of membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord.

Self-Care Tips

  • Don’t eat solid food until you stop throwing up.
  • Drink clear liquids at room temperature (not too cold or too hot). Take small sips. Drink only 1 to 2 ounces at a time. Water, “flat” cola, and ginger ale are good. Stir any carbonated beverages to get all the bubbles out before sipping them. Don’t drink alcohol. Suck on ice chips if nothing else will go down.
  • After you stop throwing up, you can go from clear liquid foods like Jell-O (any color but red) and broth to liquids like milk. Try soft foods after that, such as bananas, rice, applesauce and toast.
  • Over-the-counter medications like Emetrol may help.
  • Don’t smoke.
  • Don’t take aspirin.
  • Call your doctor if you don’t get better or if the vomiting comes back.

Questions to Ask

Do you have any of these problems along with the vomiting?

  • Stiff neck, fever and headache
  • Black or bloody vomit
  • Very bad pain in and around one eye
  • Blurry eyesight
  • A head injury that happened a short time ago

Yes: Seek Emergency Care


Dehydration is when your body loses too much water. Do you have any of these signs of dehydration?

  • Feeling confused
  • Very little or no urine
  • Sunken eyes
  • Skin that is wrinkled or sags

Yes: Seek Emergency Care


Do you have these symptoms with vomiting?

  • Fever and shaking chills
  • Pain in one or both sides of your lower back

Yes: Seek Emergency Care


Do you have very bad stomach pain? Does it last for more than 2 hours? Does it keep hurting even after you throw up?

Yes: See Doctor


Do the whites of your eyes or your skin look yellow?

Yes: See Doctor


Do you have these problems?

  • Burning or stinging feeling when you pass urine
  • Passing urine a lot more often than usual
  • Bloody or cloudy urine
  • Pain in your abdomen or over your bladder

Yes: See Doctor


Have you been throwing up for more than 12 hours without getting better?
Yes: Call Doctor

In a small child, has the vomiting lasted 2 to 6 hours?
Yes: Call Doctor

Are you throwing up medicine that is necessary for you to take? (Birth control pills and high blood pressure pills are examples).
Yes: Call Doctor

Provide Self-Care

American Institute for Preventive Medicine Written by American Institute for Preventive Medicine

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