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  • Nausea

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    Nausea is an unpleasant, diffuse sensation of unease and discomfort, often perceived as an urge to vomit. While not painful, it can be a debilitating symptom if prolonged, and has been described as placing discomfort on the chest, upper abdomen, or back of the throat. Like pain, the purpose of nausea is to discourage the person or animal from repeating whatever caused the unpleasantness. The memory of pain elicits safer or evasive actions; the memory of nausea elicits revulsion towards whatever was eaten before vomiting it up — even if it was not the cause of the nausea. Nausea is a non-specific symptom, which means that it has many possible causes. Some common causes of nausea are motion sickness, dizziness, migraine, fainting, low blood sugar, gastroenteritis (stomach infection) or food poisoning. Nausea is a side effect of many medications including chemotherapy, or morning sickness in early pregnancy. Nausea may also be caused by anxiety, disgust and depression. Medications taken to prevent and treat nausea are called antiemetics. The most commonly prescribed antiemetics in the US are promethazine, metoclopramide and the newer, extremely effective ondansetron. The word nausea is from Latin nausea, from Greek – nausia, "ναυτία" – nautia, motion sickness, "feeling sick or queasy".

  • Ethylene glycol poisoning

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    Ethylene glycol poisoning is poisoning caused by drinking ethylene glycol. Early symptoms include intoxication, vomiting and abdominal pain. Later symptoms may include a decreased level of consciousness, headache, and seizures. Long term outcomes may include kidney failure and brain damage. Toxicity and death may occur after drinking even a small amount. Ethylene glycol is a colorless, odorless, sweet liquid, commonly found in antifreeze. It may be drunk accidentally or purposefully in an attempt to cause death. When broken down by the body it results in glycolic acid and oxalic acid which cause most of the toxicity. The diagnosis may be suspected when calcium oxalate crystals are seen in the urine or when acidosis or an increased osmol gap is present in the blood. Diagnosis may be confirmed by measuring ethylene glycol levels in the blood; however, many hospitals do not have the ability to perform this test. Early treatment increases the chance of a good outcome. Treatment consists of stabilizing the person, followed by the use of an antidote. The preferred antidote is fomepizole with ethanol used if this is not available. Hemodialysis may also be used in those where there is organ damage or a high degree of acidosis. Other treatments may include sodium bicarbonate, thiamine, and magnesium. More than 5000 cases of poisoning occur in the United States each year. Those affected are often adults and male. Deaths from ethylene glycol have been reported as early as 1930. An outbreak of deaths in 1937 due to a medication mixed in a similar compound, diethylene glycol, resulted in the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act of 1938 in the United States which mandated evidence of safety before new medications could be sold. Antifreeze products sometimes have a substance to make it bitter added to discourage drinking by children and other animals but this has not been found to be effective.

  • Foodborne illness

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    Foodborne illness (also foodborne disease and colloquially referred to as food poisoning) is any illness resulting from the food spoilage of contaminated food, pathogenic bacteria, viruses, or parasites that contaminate food, as well as toxins such as poisonous mushrooms and various species of beans that have not been boiled for at least 10 minutes. Symptoms vary depending on the cause, and are described below in this article. A few broad generalizations can be made, e.g.: The incubation period ranges from hours to days, depending on the cause and on how much was consumed. The incubation period tends to cause sufferers to not associate the symptoms with the item consumed, and so to cause sufferers to attribute the symptoms to gastroenteritis for example. Symptoms often include vomiting, fever, and aches, and may include diarrhea. Bouts of vomiting can be repeated with an extended delay in between, because even if infected food was eliminated from the stomach in the first bout, microbes (if applicable) can pass through the stomach into the intestine and begin to multiply.

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