Nausea and vomiting are symptoms that have many possible causes. While there are treatments to prevent nausea and vomiting, once vomiting has started it is very difficult to stop with Over The Counter medicines, as they do not spend long enough in the stomach to act.


The very young and elderly easily become dehydrated when vomiting. Vomiting of milk in infants may be due to infection, feeding problems or a gut obstruction. You should seek the advice of your pharmacist when dealing with infants. Vomiting is different from regurgitation, where food never reaches the stomach. It is common in babies, but would be more serious in adults. The main difference is that there is not nausea with regurgitation and in the case of regurgitation food or milk comes up as soon as or even before it reaches the stomach.


Common causes of Vomiting Include:


  • Pregnancy, especially the first one. Keep this in mind if you are a woman of childbearing age.
  • Alcohol intake
  • Prescribed and OTC (over the counter) medicines. If you are taking a newly prescribed medication call the pharmacist in order to identify whether it could be the cause of the trouble.
  • Dodgy food or a stomach bug. What did you eat recently? Is there anyone else affected in the household? Have any of your family, friends or colleagues been sick or out from work?
  • An acute infection, i.e. gastro-enteritis (diarrhoea may also be present).


Travel sickness/ motion sickness. This is dealt with in the motion sickness section.




Infants and children under two years of age should be brought to the doctor at the first sign of vomiting as they are at high risk of becoming dehydrated. If the patient is a baby, vomiting may be due to an infection or feeding problems. Regurgitation sometimes occurs in infants and is a normal occurrence.


If the patient is very young or elderly they will require rehydration immediately. A rehydration preparation may be taken during the first day and a half to prevent dehydration. In these circumstances for any episode lasting more than 42 hours the patient should see a doctor.


Your Burkes pharmacist will be happy to advise you on the best treatment for your vomiting, but it is best to talk to the pharmacist about your individual case.


Adults should go to the doctor if they have been vomiting for two days. If you have already taken something for the nausea and vomiting you should inform your pharmacist or the doctor


Nausea and vomiting are very common in pregnancy. There are no medicines available Over The Counter that can be recommended but many people find Seabands (usually used for motion sickness) help.