Nausea is a sick feeling in the pit of your
stomach. When you are nauseated, you may feel weak and sweaty and have too much
saliva in your mouth. You may even vomit. This forces your stomach contents up
your esophagus and out of your mouth. Most of the time,
nausea and vomiting are not serious. Home treatment will often help you feel
Nausea and vomiting can be a symptom of another illness.
Nausea and vomiting may be caused by:
Illness caused by a virus, such as viral stomach
Chest pain or pressure, or a strange feeling in the chest.
Nausea or vomiting.
Pain, pressure, or a
strange feeling in the back, neck, jaw, or upper belly, or in one or both
shoulders or arms.
Lightheadedness or sudden
A fast or irregular heartbeat.
The more of these symptoms you have, the more likely it is that
you're having a heart attack. Chest pain or pressure is the most common
symptom, but some people, especially women, may not notice it as much as other
symptoms. You may not have chest pain at all but instead have shortness of breath, nausea, numbness,
tingling, or a strange feeling in your chest or other areas.
Many nonprescription and prescription medicines can cause
nausea or vomiting. A few examples are:
Aspirin, ibuprofen (such as Advil or
Motrin), and naproxen (such as Aleve).
Medicines used to treat
Vitamins and mineral supplements, such as iron.
Starting a new medicine or increasing the dose can cause nausea
and vomiting. Nausea and vomiting also may mean that there is too much medicine
in your body, even if you took it properly.
Severe vomiting can mean that:
You vomit more than 10 times in 24
For at least 24 hours, you vomit every time you try to drink
The vomit shoots out in large amounts and with great
Severe dehydration means:
Your mouth and eyes may be extremely
You may pass little or no urine for 12 or more
You may not feel alert or be able to think
You may be too weak or dizzy to stand.
Moderate dehydration means:
You may be a lot more thirsty than
Your mouth and eyes may be drier than usual.
pass little or no urine for 8 or more hours.
You may feel dizzy
when you stand or sit up.
Mild dehydration means:
You may be more thirsty than usual.
You may pass less urine than usual.
You can get dehydrated when
you lose a lot of fluids because of problems like vomiting or fever.
Symptoms of dehydration can range from mild to severe. For
You may feel tired and edgy (mild dehydration), or
you may feel weak, not alert, and not able to think clearly (severe
You may pass less urine than usual (mild
dehydration), or you may not be passing urine at all (severe
Certain health conditions and medicines weaken the immune system's ability to fight off infection and
illness. Some examples in adults are:
Diseases such as diabetes, cancer, heart disease,
Long-term alcohol and drug
Steroid medicines, which may be used to treat a variety
Chemotherapy and radiation therapy for
Other medicines used to treat autoimmune
Medicines taken after organ transplant.
having a spleen.
If you're not sure if a fever is high, moderate, or mild,
think about these issues:
With a high fever:
You feel very hot.
It is likely one of
the highest fevers you've ever had. High fevers are not that common, especially
With a moderate fever:
You feel warm or hot.
You know you have
With a mild fever:
You may feel a little warm.
you might have a fever, but you're not sure.
Temperature varies a little depending on how you measure it.
For adults and children age 12 and older, these are the ranges for high,
moderate, and mild, according to how you took the temperature.
Oral (by mouth) temperature
104 °F (40 °C) and
100.4 °F (38 °C) to
103.9 °F (39.9 °C)
100.3 °F (37.9 °C) and
Ear or rectal temperature
105 °F (40.6 °C) and
101.4 °F (38.6 °C) to
104.9 °F (40.5 °C)
101.3 °F (38.5 °C) and
Armpit (axillary) temperature
High: 103°F (39.5°C) and higher
99.4 °F (37.4 °C) to
102.9 °F (39.4 °C)
Mild: 99.3°F (37.3°C) and lower
It is easy for your diabetes to become out of control when
you are sick. Because of an illness:
Your blood sugar may be too high or too
You may not be able take your diabetes medicine (if you are
vomiting or having trouble keeping food or fluids down).
not know how to adjust the timing or dose of your diabetes
You may not be eating enough or drinking enough
An illness plan for people with diabetes usually covers things like:
How often to test blood sugar and what the target
Whether and how to adjust the dose and timing of insulin
or other diabetes medicines.
What to do if you have trouble keeping
food or fluids down.
When to call your doctor.
The plan is designed to help keep your diabetes in control even
though you are sick. When you have diabetes, even a minor illness can cause
Try Home Treatment
You have answered all the questions. Based on your answers, you may be
able to take care of this problem at home.
Try home treatment to relieve the
Call your doctor if symptoms get worse or you have any
concerns (for example, if symptoms are not getting better as you would expect).
You may need care sooner.
over-the-counter antinausea medicine, such as
meclizine (Antivert or Bonine) or dimenhydrinate (Dramamine), or an
antihistamine, such as Benadryl. Don't give
antihistamines to your child unless you've checked with the doctor
Place the tip of your right index finger on
the underside of your left wrist, about
1.5 in. (4 cm) from your hand.
Acupressure points are very small, so you may need to try this method more than
After vomiting has stopped for 1 hour, drink
1 fl oz (30 mL) of a clear
liquid every 20 minutes for 1 hour. Clear liquids include apple or grape
juice mixed to half strength with water, rehydration drinks, weak tea with
sugar, clear broth, and gelatin dessert. Avoid orange juice, grapefruit juice,
tomato juice, and lemonade. Avoid apple and grape juice if you also have
diarrhea. Do not drink milk products, alcohol, or carbonated drinks such as
If you do not have any more vomiting, increase the amount
of fluid you drink to
8 fl oz (240 mL) during the
second hour. If you are not vomiting after the second hour, make sure that you
continue to drink enough to prevent dehydration.
When you are
feeling better, begin eating clear soups, mild foods, and liquids until all
symptoms are gone for 12 to 48 hours. Gelatin dessert, dry toast, crackers, and
cooked cereal are good choices. Try to stay away from strong food odors, which
can make nausea worse.
The acid in vomit can erode dental enamel and cause tooth
decay (cavities). Rinse your mouth with water after you
vomit. Brush your teeth if you can.
Vomit contains blood or material that looks like
Vomiting with fever of
103 °F (39.4 °C) or higher occurs
or fever lasts longer than 2 days.
Belly pain develops or gets
symptoms become more severe or more frequent.
Food poisoning is one of the most
common causes of nausea and vomiting in adults. To prevent food poisoning:
Follow the 2-40-140 rule. Don't eat meats, dressing, salads, or
other foods that have been kept between
40 °F (4.4 °C) and
140 °F (60 °C) for more than 2
Be especially careful with large cooked meats, such as your
holiday turkey, which require a long time to cool. Thick parts of the meat may
stay over 40 °F (4.4 °C) long
enough to allow bacteria to grow.
Use a thermometer to check your
refrigerator. It should be between
34 °F (1.1 °C) and
40 °F (4.4 °C).
Defrost meats in the refrigerator or the microwave,
not on the kitchen counter.
Wash your hands, cutting boards, and
countertops often. After handling raw meats, especially chicken, wash your
hands and utensils before preparing other foods.
Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommends that you reheat meats to over
140 °F (60 °C) for at least 10
minutes to destroy bacteria. Even then the bacteria may not be destroyed.
Not smoking. Smoking irritates the lining of your nose,
sinuses, and lungs, which may increase your risk for problems from a viral
You can help prevent influenza by getting
immunized with an influenza vaccine each year, as soon as it's available. The "flu shot" is given by injection. This form of the
vaccine prevents most cases of the flu.
Even if a flu shot does not
prevent the flu, the vaccine can make your flu symptoms milder and decrease the
risk of problems from the flu.
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.