Skip to Content

Acute Nausea And Vomiting


Acute nausea and vomiting start suddenly, worsen quickly, and last a short time. Nausea and vomiting may be caused by pregnancy, alcohol, infection, or medicines.


Return to the emergency department if:

  • You see blood in your vomit or your bowel movements.
  • You have sudden, severe pain in your chest and upper abdomen after hard vomiting or retching.
  • You have swelling in your neck and chest.
  • You are dizzy, cold, and thirsty and your eyes and mouth are dry.
  • You are urinating very little or not at all.
  • You have muscle weakness, leg cramps, and trouble breathing.
  • Your heart is beating much faster than normal.
  • You feel pain at the back of your neck, find it hard to think or speak clearly, or have facial twitching.
  • You continue to vomit for over 48 hours.

Contact your healthcare provider if:

  • You have frequent dry heaves (vomiting but nothing comes out).
  • Your nausea and vomiting does not get better or go away after you use medicine.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or treatment.


You may need any of the following:

  • Antinausea medicine: This medicine may be given to calm your stomach and prevent vomiting.
  • Motion sickness medicine is used to stop nausea and vomiting caused by motion sickness.
  • Gastrointestinal stimulants are used to help empty your stomach and bowels, which helps decrease your nausea and vomiting.
  • Take your medicine as directed. Contact your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him of her if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Replace lost body fluids:

You can replace lost body fluids by drinking more liquids. You may also drink an oral rehydration solution (ORS). ORS contains water, salts, and sugar that are needed to replace the lost body fluids. Ask what kind of ORS to use, how much to drink, and where to get it.

Eat smaller meals, more often:

Eat small amounts of food every 2 to 3 hours, even if you are not hungry. Food in your stomach may help decrease your nausea.

Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your follow-up visits.

© 2016 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.