We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is Sympathetic Vomiting?

Jessica Ellis
By
Updated Mar 03, 2024
Our promise to you
The Health Board is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At The Health Board, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Sympathetic vomiting occurs when the sight, sound or smell of a person vomiting causes others to become nauseated and throw up. It is a fairly common occurrence among humans, and some scientists and experts consider it an evolved trait in primates. Sympathetic vomiting may seem like a simple reaction to an unpleasant sight or smell, but it may actually be rooted in survival strategy.

Vomiting can be caused by a variety of physical problems, including dyspepsia, indigestion, food allergies, or poisoning. The act of throwing up is caused when the contents of the stomach are forcefully swept up through the body, being expelled through the nose and mouth. People stricken with vomiting may experience heart palpitations and sweating, and reoccurring bouts of nausea. Excessive vomiting can also lead to severe dehydration, particularly if the body is not able to keep any food or liquid down.

The smell of vomit is widely considered to be one of the worst in the world, and may induce nausea in anyone nearby. While this may be simply a reaction to a malodorous aroma, it is possible that the body has a subconscious reaction to the smell or sight of the vomit itself. Because of the possibility that something the sick person has consumed has made them ill or poisoned them, your body may chemically decide to rid itself of potentially poisoned contents as well. In groups of apes, group or sympathetic vomiting has been observed after one animal becomes ill after eating. Since the other animals in the tribe have likely eaten the same things, sympathetic vomiting may be used as a survival tactic.

Some experts think that vomiting urges can be controlled by consuming certain foods and beverages or attempting to relax the body through deep breathing or other meditation tactics. If you feel yourself becoming nauseous, try slowly drinking a clear carbonated beverage like seltzer, or stepping outside to get some air. Try to distract your mind with an activity, and do not eat any very hot or cold foods for a while.

If you fear you may be subject to sympathetic vomiting, get out of the room or area if someone is vomiting or appears to be getting sick. Getting away from the sight, smell and sounds may prevent you from suffering any ill effects. You may want to try taking an anti-nausea medication, such as those sold to prevent seasickness. Again, trying to distract your mind may be key to preventing nausea and vomiting. Do not try to exercise right away however, as some types of exertion can induce nausea.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Jessica Ellis
By Jessica Ellis , Writer
With a B.A. in theater from UCLA and a graduate degree in screenwriting from the American Film Institute, Jessica Ellis brings a unique perspective to her work as a writer for The Health Board. While passionate about drama and film, Jessica enjoys learning and writing about a wide range of topics, creating content that is both informative and engaging for readers.

Discussion Comments

Jessica Ellis

Jessica Ellis

Writer

With a B.A. in theater from UCLA and a graduate degree in screenwriting from the American Film Institute, Jessica Ellis...
Learn more
The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.