Tag Archives: vomit

Nausea and Vomiting

What are nausea and vomiting? 

— Nausea is the feeling you get when you think you might throw up. Vomiting is when you actually throw up. These 2 symptoms can happen together. But sometimes people feel nauseous without throwing up, and some people throw up without feeling nauseous first.

What causes nausea and vomiting? 

— The most common causes include:

Food poisoning – This can happen if you eat food that has gone bad. It is basically an infection in your stomach. Infections like these often also cause diarrhea. Other kinds of infections that affect the stomach or intestines can also cause nausea and vomiting.

Dizziness or motion sickness – This can happen if you’re on a boat or in a car, or something else that moves. It can also happen if there’s something wrong inside your ears that affects your balance.

Medicines – Lots of different medicines can cause nausea or vomiting. Some examples are antidepressants, antibiotics, vitamins, birth control pills, and pain medicines. People who are on chemotherapy for cancer treatment or who have been under anesthesia also often have nausea or vomiting.

Pregnancy – Many women who are pregnant have nausea or vomiting. People sometimes call this “morning sickness,” but it can happen at any time of day.

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) – GERD is condition that causes the juices that are in the stomach to leak back up into the esophagus, the tube that connects the throat to the stomach. It can sometimes cause nausea.

Problems with the stomach or intestines – In some people, the stomach or intestines do not move food along the way that they are supposed to. In others, the intestines can get blocked. Both of these problems can cause nausea or vomiting.

Migraine headaches – Some people who get migraine headaches have nausea during their headaches.

Alcohol – Drinking too much alcohol can cause nausea and vomiting.

Should I see a doctor or nurse? 

— Call your doctor or nurse if your symptoms last longer than a day or 2, or you have severe symptoms. You should also call if you:

●Have chest or belly pain

●Throw up blood or something that looks like coffee grounds

●Have a bowel movement with blood, or a bowel movement that is black and looks like tar

●Have a fever higher than 101ºF

●Have a severe headache or stiff neck

●Feel very tired or have trouble getting up

●Show signs of dehydration (meaning that your body has lost too much water). Signs of dehydration include:

•Feeling very tired

•Being very thirsty or having a dry mouth or tongue

•Muscle cramps

•Dizziness

•Confusion

•Urine that is dark yellow, or not needing to urinate for more than 5 hours

What can I do on my own to feel better? — You can:

●Drink lots of fluids, if possible

●Try eating, but start with foods that have a lot of fluid in them. Good examples are soup, Jell-O, and popsicles. If you do OK with those foods, you can try soft, bland foods, such as plain yogurt. Foods that are high in carbohydrates (“carbs”), like bread or saltine crackers, can help settle your stomach. Some people also find that ginger helps with nausea. You should avoid foods that have a lot of fat in them. They can make nausea worse. Call your doctor if your symptoms come back when you try to eat.

●Avoid strong smells, such as the smell of perfume

●Take medicines with meals, if possible. But check the bottle first, because some medicines must be taken on an empty stomach.

How are nausea and vomiting treated? 

— If you have been vomiting a lot for more than a day, your doctor or nurse will ask you lots of questions to try to find out what might be causing your symptoms. He or she might also:

●Give you fluids through a thin tube that goes in a vein, called an “IV”

●Give you medicines that control nausea and vomiting. Some examples include:

Prochlorperazine (brand name: Compro)

Promethazine (brand name: Phenergan)

Metoclopramide (brand name: Reglan)

Ondansetron (brand name: Zofran)

●Schedule tests for you to help find out why you have nausea or vomiting, such as a stomach X-ray

Viral Gastroenteritis

What is viral gastroenteritis? 

— Viral gastroenteritis is an infection that can cause diarrhea and vomiting. It happens when a person’s stomach and intestines get infected with a virus. Both adults and children can get viral gastroenteritis.

People can get the infection if they:

●Touch an infected person or a surface with the virus on it, and then don’t wash their hands

●Eat foods or drink liquids with the virus in them. If people with the virus don’t wash their hands, they can spread it to food or liquids they touch.

What are the symptoms of viral gastroenteritis? — The infection causes diarrhea and vomiting. People can have either diarrhea or vomiting, or both. These symptoms usually start suddenly, and can be severe.

Viral gastroenteritis can also cause:

●A fever

●A headache or muscle aches

●Belly pain or cramping

●A loss of appetite

If you have diarrhea and vomiting, your body can lose too much water. Doctors call this “dehydration.” Dehydration can make you have dark yellow urine and feel thirsty, tired, dizzy, or confused.

Severe dehydration can be life-threatening. Babies, young children, and elderly people are more likely to get severe dehydration.

Do people with viral gastroenteritis need tests?

 — Not usually. Their doctor or nurse should be able to tell if they have it by learning about their symptoms and doing an exam. But the doctor or nurse might do tests to check for dehydration or to see which virus is causing the infection. These tests can include:

●Blood tests

●Urine tests

●Tests on a sample of bowel movement

Is there anything I can do on my own to feel better or help my child? — Yes. People with viral gastroenteritis need to drink enough fluids so they don’t get dehydrated.

Some fluids help prevent dehydration better than others:

●Older children and adults can drink sports drinks.

●You can give babies and young children an “oral rehydration solution,” such as Pedialyte. You can buy this in a store or pharmacy. If your child is vomiting, you can try to give your child a few teaspoons of fluid every few minutes.

●Babies who breastfeed can continue to breastfeed.

People with viral gastroenteritis should avoid drinking juice or soda. These can make diarrhea worse.

If you can keep food down, it’s best to eat lean meats, fruits, vegetables, and whole-grain breads and cereals. Avoid eating foods with a lot of fat or sugar, which can make symptoms worse.

If you are an adult younger than 65 and you have a new bout of diarrhea but no fever or blood in your bowel movements, you can take medicine to stop diarrhea such as loperamide (brand name: Imodium) for 1 to 2 days. If you are older than 65, have a fever, or have blood in your bowel movements, do not take these medicines without checking with your doctor.

Do not give medicines to stop diarrhea to children.

Should I call the doctor or nurse? 

— Call the doctor or nurse if you or your child:

●Has any symptoms of dehydration

●Has diarrhea or vomiting that lasts longer than a few days

●Vomits up blood, has bloody diarrhea, or has severe belly pain

●Hasn’t had anything to drink in a few hours (for children), or in many hours (for adults)

●Hasn’t needed to urinate in the past 6 to 8 hours (during the day), or if your baby or young child hasn’t had a wet diaper for 4 to 6 hours

How is viral gastroenteritis treated? 

— Most people do not need any treatment, because their symptoms will get better on their own. But people with severe dehydration might need treatment in the hospital for their dehydration. This involves getting fluids through an “IV” (a thin tube that goes into the vein).

Doctors do not treat viral gastroenteritis with antibiotics. That’s because antibiotics treat infections that are caused by bacteria – not viruses.

Can viral gastroenteritis be prevented? 

— Sometimes. To lower the chance of getting or spreading the infection, you can:

●Wash your hands with soap and water after you use the bathroom or change your child’s diaper, and before you eat.

●Avoid changing your child’s diaper near where you prepare food.

●Make sure your baby gets the rotavirus vaccine. Vaccines can prevent certain serious or deadly infections. Rotavirus is a virus that commonly causes viral gastroenteritis in children.