Nausea is the unpleasant, painless sensation that one may potentially vomit. Vomiting is an organized, subconscious response that ultimately results in the forceful expulsion of gastric contents through the mouth and sometimes the nose. Vomiting is intended to protect a person from harmful ingested substances.
Nausea and vomiting are not diseases. They can be symptoms of many different conditions. Conditions causing nausea and vomiting include cough, food poisoning, infections, medications such as cancer chemotherapy drugs or opiates, migraine headaches, hyperemesis gravidarum (morning sickness during pregnancy), motion sickness or seasickness, over-eating, and post-operative nausea and vomiting. Nausea and vomiting may also be symptoms of serious conditions including heart attack, blocked intestines, concussion or brain injury, and appendicitis (inflammation of the appendix). Chronic (long-term) nausea and vomiting may be a sign of serious illness, such as cancer.
Nausea and vomiting are common and are not normally serious. Individuals should see a doctor immediately if they have: vomited for longer than 24 hours; blood in the vomit; severe abdominal pain; headache and stiff neck; and signs of dehydration, such as dry mouth, infrequent urination, or dark urine.
Nausea and vomiting can occur in both adults and children. However, adults with vomiting are at a much lower risk of dehydration, or the loss of fluids from the body. Adults can also tell by thirst and other symptoms when they become dehydrated.
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