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Acute Nausea and Vomiting

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Aug 31, 2022.


Acute nausea and vomiting

means the nausea and vomiting starts suddenly, gets worse quickly, and lasts a short time. There are many possible causes of acute nausea and vomiting.

Call your local emergency number (911 in the US) if:

  • You have chest pain.
  • You have severe pain or cramping in your abdomen.
  • Your vision is blurred.
  • You are confused, have a high fever, or a stiff neck.
  • You have bright red blood coming from your rectum.
  • Your vomit smells like bowel movement.

Seek care immediately if:

  • You have a severe headache or pain.
  • You are dizzy, cold, and thirsty, and your eyes and mouth are dry.
  • You are urinating very little or not at all.
  • You are dizzy or lightheaded when you stand up.
  • You see blood or material that looks like coffee grounds in your vomit.

Call your doctor if:

  • You continue to vomit for more than 48 hours.
  • Your nausea and vomiting does not get better or go away after you use medicine.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.


The first goal of treatment for nausea and vomiting is to prevent or treat dehydration. Treatment also depends on the cause of the nausea and vomiting. Any medical condition causing your nausea and vomiting will also be treated. You may need one or more of the following:

  • Medicines may be given to calm your stomach and stop your vomiting. You may also need medicines to help empty your stomach and bowels.
  • IV fluids may be given to replace lost fluids and electrolytes. This may be needed it you cannot drink liquids.
  • A nasogastric (NG) tube may be needed if your nausea and vomiting is severe. The NG tube is put into your nose and moved down your throat until it reaches your stomach. Liquid, nutrition, or medicine may be given through an NG tube. The tube may instead be attached to suction if healthcare providers need to keep your stomach empty.

Manage your symptoms:

  • Rest as much as you can. Too much activity can make your nausea worse.
  • Drink more liquids to prevent dehydration. Take small sips. Try drinks such as ginger ale, lemonade, water, or tea. Your provider may recommend that you drink an oral rehydration solution (ORS). ORS contains water, salts, and sugar that are needed to replace the lost body fluids.
  • Eat smaller meals, more often. Try bland foods and avoid spices or strong flavors
  • Do not drink alcohol. Alcohol may upset or irritate your stomach.

Follow up with your doctor as directed:

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

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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.

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Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.