Urgent Care for Nausea and Vomiting
The first thing you should know about nausea and vomiting is that they are not a problem in themselves. Instead, they are symptoms of something else going on in your body.
Figuring out what is causing the nausea and vomiting is essential to solving it. Without knowing the cause, the best you can do is take anti-nausea or anti-vomiting medication. This will temporarily stop the symptoms, but it won’t solve what’s causing them in the first place.
Most causes of nausea and vomiting are not serious. For example, motion sickness and indigestion are common causes of nausea and sometimes vomiting. Other causes include:
- food allergies
- certain medications, both prescription and over the counter
- pregnancy (morning sickness)
- food poisoning
Although rare, nausea and vomiting could also signal the presence of a more serious health condition. If that’s the case, there are usually other symptoms that appear at the same time.
For example, nausea and vomiting can be signs of appendicitis or a blockage in the intestines. It could also be a sign of poisoning or overdosing on certain medications, especially in the case of children.
People with ulcers in the stomach or intestine might also vomit or be nauseous. Often, patients mention these symptoms during a routine examination such as a dot physical or pre-op exam, or if they seek treatment for another condition.
If the nausea is not severe and you only vomited once, you might be able to deal with it right at home. Home treatment is also useful even if you eventually have to see your provider anyway. This tells your provider what you have already tried and whether it worked at all, so he can decide the next course of action.
The best thing you can do for both nausea and vomiting is to switch to a liquid diet for 24 hours. This gives your stomach a chance to rest but still keeps you hydrated. Try drinking clear broths, sports drinks and water in small sips. You can also buy hydration salts at the pharmacy (they come flavored) and add it to your water. You can do this even if you plan to see your provider, to ensure you stay hydrated in the meantime.
When to See Your Doctor
Nausea is rarely a reason to see your provider, unless you have been experiencing it for long periods of time and cannot pinpoint a cause for it. Vomiting, on the other hand, might merit a phone call to your provider, especially if you have vomited several times in a period of 24 hours. That’s because vomiting repeatedly can lead to dehydration or indicate food poisoning.
You should also see your provider if you notice the color of the vomit is black or dark, as this could be a sign of blood coming from the stomach. Vomiting combined with severe belly pain, a stiff neck or the inability of urinate also warrants a call to your provider.
When you go see your provider, he will likely spend some time asking you questions, such as when the nausea or vomiting started and how often it is happening.
He will also ask about recent events, such as whether you ate something unusual or started taking a new medication. Other symptoms, including headaches, diarrhea or stomach pain, can also be important to help determine the cause of the problem.
Once the cause of the nausea has been found, your provider will treat the underlying problem. To relieve the nausea and vomiting until the problem has been resolved, your provider might prescribe antiemetics (anti-nausea medication). This will allow you to feel more comfortable, but also to retain liquid so you don’t become dehydrated.
If you wait too long and you are already dehydrated, you might need to stay in the hospital to receive IV fluids.
When in doubt, come to our urgent care in Rockville, MD to be evaluated and treated by one of our providers.