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When Does Vomiting Need Medical Attention?

As you no doubt know, vomiting is a reflexive body response in which a reverse emptying of the gastric contents occurs. In general, vomiting isn’t a disease but a symptom of many different conditions.

Nausea and vomiting often occur together. Nausea is the uncomfortable and urgent feeling of having to throw up. Dizziness, abdominal pain, or a sinking feeling in the stomach usually arrive before vomiting. 

Our providers at Houston Medical ER in Houston and Spring, Texas, diagnose and treat vomiting so you get fast relief. There are many reasons you or your child might experience vomiting.

Reasons for vomiting

Stress, physical pain, and anxiety can cause nausea and even vomiting. Travel sickness on a long car ride or seasickness on the water also causes many people to have a queasy stomach feeling and vomiting.

But vomiting can also be a sign of a serious illness. The following infections or inflammations frequently cause vomiting:

  • Gastrointestinal flu (caused by norovirus, rotavirus, or salmonella)
  • Chronic inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
  • Appendicitis
  • Pancreas or gallbladder inflammation
  • Hepatitis
  • Food poisoning or intolerance

Some metabolic disorders are possible causes of vomiting, such as diabetes, kidney diseases, adrenal gland diseases, and liver diseases.

Poisoning and the side effects of various medications are further triggers for nausea and vomiting, including excessive alcohol consumption, drug use, chemotherapy, and anesthesia. 

Another common cause of vomiting in women is pregnancy. Many women report morning sickness, which is also accompanied by vomiting.

Fever and vomiting

Fever is a protective or defensive function of the body. The core body temperature rises and increases the mobility of the defense cells to accelerate the immune reaction. The defense cells find and eliminate pathogens quickly.

If you have a fever along with vomiting, this can indicate inflammatory processes in your body. There are many different causes:

  • Inflammation/infection of the digestive tract (stomach flu, pancreatitis, IBD, appendicitis)
  • Infections of other organs (urinary tract infections, pneumonia, COVID-19)
  • Autoimmune diseases
  • Sunstroke/heatstroke

If you experience fever and vomiting, visit us at Houston Medical ER to see a specialist who can diagnose the problem and help you feel better.

Diarrhea and vomiting

Vomiting and diarrhea often go hand in hand. The flu is a possible trigger for these symptoms, and other potential triggers for diarrhea and vomiting include:

  • Food poisoning
  • Inflammation of the stomach lining (gastritis)
  • Diverticulitis (bulging of the bowel wall)
  • Crohn's disease
  • Blood poisoning (sepsis)

COVID-19 can also cause both vomiting and diarrhea.

Vomiting in babies and children

Children's stomachs are more sensitive than adults’, which is why children throw up more often. 

Babies frequently vomit because their stomach and intestines aren’t used to many foods, so it can be difficult to know when to visit Houston Medical ER. 

Post-meal burping is normal for babies. If a child throws up without other symptoms, vomiting is usually harmless. Some harmless causes include:

  • Eating too much
  • Eating too many different foods at once
  • Eating very cold dishes
  • Physical activity after eating
  • Strong emotions
  • Teething

Seek medical attention immediately if the vomit is green and your child has a fever of

102 F. If your child has a fever of 101 F for more than three days, we recommend bringing them to see us right away.

When to visit an emergency room

Consult a medical professional if your child can’t hold down fluids or has symptoms such as fever, drowsiness, severe abdominal pain, or diarrhea. There’s a risk of severe fluid loss, which can quickly become dangerous for small children. 

Our providers are available 24/7, with no appointments required.

If you struggle with nausea or vomiting, we’re here for you. Board-certified and board-eligible physicians and registered nurses offer IV infusions to deliver medications and combat dehydration. Call or walk in anytime for fast relief of your symptoms.

For any medical procedure, patients respond to treatment differently, hence each patient's results may vary.
**In case of a life threatening emergency, immediately call 911.
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