Nausea and Vomiting
Nausea and vomiting are not diseases, but rather are symptoms of many different conditions, such as infection ("stomach flu"), food poisoning, motion sickness, overeating, blocked intestine, illness, concussion or brain injury, appendicitis, and migraines. Nausea and vomiting can sometimes be symptoms of more serious diseases such as heart attacks, kidney or liver disorders, central nervous system disorders, brain tumors, and some forms of cancer.
What is the difference between nausea
Who is more likely to experience nausea
What causes nausea or vomiting?
The causes of vomiting differ according to age. For adults, vomiting is commonly a result of a viral infection and food poisoning, and occasionally a result of motion sickness and illnesses in which the person has a high fever. For children, it is common for vomiting to occur because of a viral infection, food poisoning, motion sickness, overeating or feeding, coughing, and illnesses in which the child has a high fever. Although rare, blocked intestines can cause vomiting, most typically in early infancy.
Usually vomiting is harmless, but it can be a sign of a more serious illness. Some examples of serious conditions that may bring on nausea or vomiting include concussions, encephalitis, meningitis, intestinal blockage, appendicitis, migraine headaches, and brain tumors.
Another concern with vomiting is dehydration. Adults have a lower risk of becoming dehydrated because they can usually detect the symptoms of dehydration (such as increased thirst and dry lips or mouth). Children have a greater risk of becoming dehydrated, especially if the vomiting occurs with diarrhea, because young children may often be unable to tell an adult about symptoms of dehydration. Adults caring for sick children need to be aware of these visible signs of dehydration: dry lips and mouth, sunken eyes, rapid breathing or pulse; or in infants, decreased urination, and a sunken fontanelle (soft spot on top of the baby's head).
When should a doctor be consulted?
A person who is experiencing nausea should consult a physician if it lasts more than one week, and if there is a possibility of pregnancy. Vomiting usually subsides within 6 to 24 hours, and may be treated at home.
You should see your doctor if home treatment is not working, dehydration is present, or a known injury (such as head injury or infection) is causing the vomiting.
Take your infant or a child under six years old to the doctor if:
Take your child over six years old to the doctor if:
Adults should consult a doctor if vomiting occurs for more than one day, if diarrhea and vomiting last more than 24 hours, and if there are signs of moderate dehydration.
You should see a doctor immediately if the following signs or symptoms occur:
What can be done to control or
relieve nausea and vomiting?
When trying to control nausea:
Treatment for vomiting (regardless of age or cause) includes: drinking gradually larger amounts of clear liquids; avoiding solid food until the vomiting episode has passed; resting; and temporarily discontinuing all oral medications, which can irritate the stomach and make vomiting worse. If vomiting and diarrhea last more than 24 hours, an oral rehydrating solution should be used to prevent and treat dehydration.
Vomiting associated with surgery, radiation therapy, anticancer drugs, alcohol, and morphine can often be treated with another type of drug therapy. There are also prescription and nonprescription drugs that can be used to control vomiting associated with pregnancy, motion sickness, and vertigo. However, you should consult with your health care provider before using these treatments.
Are there complications from prolonged
nausea or vomiting?
How can you prevent nausea?
If you feel nauseated when you wake up in the morning, eat some crackers before getting out of bed or eat a high protein snack (lean meat or cheese) before going to bed. Drink liquids between (instead of during) meals, and drink at least six to eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day to prevent dehydration. Try to eat when you feel less nauseated.
Once you feel nauseated, how do you
For children, control persistent coughs and fever with over-the-counter medicines. To treat motion sickness in a car, seat your child so that he or she faces the front windshield (watching fast movement out the side windows can make the nausea worse). Limit snacks, and do not serve sweet snacks with regular soda pop. Don't let your kids eat and play at the same time. Encourage them to take a break during their snack time.
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