Health Services

Nausea and Vomiting

What are they?
Nausea is an unpleasant, sick feeling coming from the mid-stomach area. Vomiting is the sudden forcing-out of the stomach contents through the mouth. While nausea and vomiting themselves are not contagious, the things that cause them may be very contagious.

What Causes Them?
The most common causes for nausea & vomiting are:

  • Viruses
  • Food Poisoning
  • Certain medications
  • Too much food or drink
  • Certain stressful situations
  • Most cases of nausea and vomiting are short lasting 24 to 48 hours.


  • Abdominal Cramps
  • Diarrhea
  • Pale Skin Color
  • Headache
  • Sweating
  • Lightheadedness
  • Weakness
  • Watery saliva

What to Do

  • Discontinue solid foods
  • Take clear liquids only (see list below) until at least 2 hours have passed without vomiting
    • Ginger-ale
    • Grape or apple juice
    • Clear broth
    • Sports drinks mixed with water
  • Start with taking one tablespoon every 10 minutes
  • If vomiting does NOT occur, double the amount of liquids every hour
  • If vomiting DOES occur, allow the stomach to rest briefly then start again
  • The key is to gradually increase the amount of fluid taken until you are taking 8 ounces every hour
  • Goal is to ingest 1000 to 1500 mL of fluid per day

As your condition improves, you may add other fluids and solid foods (see following list)

  • Solids
  • Crackers
  • Toast with jelly
  • Pretzels
  • Animal Crackers
  • Potatoes
  • Rice
  • Noodles
  • Chicken or Turkey

What to Avoid
For several days, avoid the following foods and beverages:

  • Fried foods
  • Spicy foods
  • Tomato-based foods
  • Raw fruits and vegetables
  • Fatty foods
  • Salad dressings
  • Citrus juices

Primary treatment should be through diet. Medication should be a secondary treatment. If it persists longer than 48 hours, visit the health center for further treatment, which may include medication.

Notify our office if any of the following occurs:

  • Persistent vomiting
  • Severe stomach pain
  • High fever
  • Signs of dehydration - Lightheadedness with standing, dry or parched lips, a decrease in amount of urine (you should urinate at least once every 8 hours), obvious weight loss, and no tears when crying.

Revised 05/05