Swallowed something poisonous and wondering how to induce vomiting ASAP? Not so fast. 🛑 Inducing vomiting is typically a big no-no. And most doctors and Poison Control experts agree.

Let’s take look at when you should and shouldn’t make yourself vom. It’s all in the name of safety.

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Pretty much never. Induced vomiting is off the table unless a doctor or healthcare provider has told you to do so.

Your bod is already designed to remove harmful things, which includes toxic items or chemicals. But if you swallow something dangerous, you should absolutely contact your doctor or Poison Control. Never try to induce vomiting at home without guidance, it could make things worse.

In fact, doctors don’t recommend that you induce vomiting because it’s hard to get anything toxic completely out of your system through hurling alone. That’s why seeking medical help is the way to go.

Inducing vomiting also isn’t as simple leaning over the toilet. There can be side effects like:

  • dehydration
  • damage to your throat and mouth
  • harm caused by a mix of poison and stomach acid
  • stomach aches
  • chemical burns from the poison moving up through your body
  • inhaling vomit into your lungs (aka aspiration)

Swallowing or eating something harmful can be scary, especially if it’s toxic to your body.

You should also contact your doctor to make them aware of the situation and to seek additional advice. Alternatively, you could call your local hospital’s emergency department, or go there yourself if you can’t reach a healthcare provider.

Whoever you call will ask for this information about the person who swallowed something harmful:

  • age
  • height and weight
  • when the poison was ingested
  • how much you think was consumed
  • what toxic substance was swallowed
  • symptoms the person is experiencing

Sharing this info can help them make the best recommendations and direct you to the emergency room if needed. If it’s a serious case of poisoning, be prepared for a hospital stay, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Nauseous and think making yourself throw up will make you feel better? Hold up. This actually isn’t a great idea. Making yourself vomit can be harmful to your throat and mouth and lead to a sore stomach, headaches, and more nausea. If your body needs to throw up, it will.

Some tips to reduce nausea (sans puking) include:

  • Take deep breaths and try to relax. Hold your breath for 5 to 10 seconds and exhale, repeating until your nausea lessens or subsides.
  • You might not want to eat, but eating a small snack — something bland like crackers — can help to reduce nausea and a sore stomach.
  • Try to cool down. Place a cold pack on your forehead or turn on a fan. Lowering your body temperature can ease nausea.
  • Apply pressure to your wrist. According to Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, certain pressure points can help reduce nausea.

Eating disorders and disordered eating are nothing to be ashamed of. And, you don’t need to be afraid of seeking help because you fear stigma or judgment.

If you’ve been inducing vomiting to lose weight, control what you eat, or as self-punishment, there are people who can help.

According to the National Eating Disorders Association, you could be dealing with the eating disorder bulimia nervosa or another form of disordered eating. A person with this condition often vomits to reduce their calorie intake or throws up any food when they feel guilt or shame.

According to a 2012 research review, disordered eating can lead to long-term physical health problems and affect your emotional health. It’s important to seek help, so you can find treatment that works best for you.

If you don’t have someone you feel comfortable confiding in, here are some resources that can help:

  • National Eating Disorders Association. A nonprofit org dedicated to helping folks with eating disorders find support.
  • Recovery Record. An online treatment community with an app that helps you track and monitor your progress and message with your care team.
  • Anorexia Nervosa & Related Eating Disorders. Take this self-assessment if speaking to someone straight away is overwhelming. When you’re ready, speak with your doctor and take in your test results to help guide your appointment.

It’s not a good idea to induce vomiting unless you’ve been medically directed to do so. It can actually cause damaging effects and often isn’t enough to flush out any poison.

If you think someone is in danger from swallowing something poisonous, call your doctor, local hospital, or Poison Control for guidance. They can help you figure out if you can treat it at home or need to visit the ER.