Nausea and Vomiting in Teens: Care Instructions

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When you are nauseated, you may feel weak and sweaty and notice a lot of saliva in your mouth. Nausea often leads to vomiting. Most of the time you do not need to worry about nausea and vomiting, but they can be signs of other illnesses.

Two common causes of nausea and vomiting are a stomach infection and food poisoning. Nausea and vomiting from a viral stomach infection will usually start to improve within 24 hours. Nausea and vomiting from food poisoning may last from 12 to 48 hours.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

How can you care for yourself at home?

  • To prevent dehydration, drink plenty of fluids. Choose water and other clear liquids until you feel better.
  • Rest in bed until you feel better.
  • When you are able to eat, try clear soups, mild foods, and liquids until all symptoms are gone for 12 to 48 hours. Other good choices include dry toast, crackers, cooked cereal, and gelatin dessert, such as Jell-O.
  • Suck on peppermint candy or chew peppermint gum. Some people think peppermint helps an upset stomach.

When should you call for help?

Call your doctor now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • You have signs of needing more fluids. You have sunken eyes, a dry mouth, and pass only a little urine.
  • You have a fever with a stiff neck or a severe headache.
  • You are sensitive to light or feel very sleepy or confused.
  • You have new or worsening belly pain.
  • You have a new or higher fever.
  • You vomit blood or what looks like coffee grounds.

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor if:

  • The vomiting lasts longer than 2 days.
  • You vomit more than 10 times in 1 day.

Where can you learn more?

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The Health Encyclopedia contains general health information. Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage or Summary Plan Description. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.