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Ask Doctor Cory.

Dear Dr. Cory:

Why do I vomit?

Malcham Muth Rocky Ford, Colorado

Dear Malcham:

Vomiting occurs when the muscles of the abdomen and the diaphragm, the curved muscle under your rib cage, squeeze together hard while the stomach stays relaxed. It is a reflex action (something that happens automatically) that is set off by the "vomiting center" in the brain. Many things can turn on the brain's "vomiting center," such as certain smells, dizziness, certain drugs or poisons, nervousness, and some types of viruses or bacteria. Touching the gag spot at the back of your throat can also cause the vomit reflex to occur.

When certain viruses or bacteria get into your stomach, they make toxins, or chemicals, that upset your stomach. The nerves from the stomach and intestines send a message to your brain to get rid of these toxins. Your brain then puts in motion the vomit reflex.

One of the best ways to prevent stomach illnesses is to wash your hands after using the bathroom and before handling food.

Dear Dr. Cory:

How do people get chickenpox from other people?

Anita Hinshaw Bakersfield, California

Dear Anita:

Chickenpox is caused by the varicellazoster virus. It can be spread when an infected person sneezes or coughs and sends little droplets containing the virus into the air. Healthy children can then breathe in these droplets and become infected.

Chickenpox can also be spread by touching the little blister-like rash on the infected person and then putting your fingers in your mouth, eyes, or nose. (Another good reason for hand-washing!)

A person can spread the virus one or two days before he breaks out with the rash. After that, he can still spread the disease until all of the blister-like rash has scabbed over. Once a person has come in contact with the virus, it can take anywhere from ten to twenty-one days before he comes down with the disease.

There is a vaccine, called Varivax, that helps to protect us from getting chickenpox. Babies can get this vaccine between the ages of twelve and eighteen months. Older children who have not yet had chickenpox can also get the vaccine.

Dear Dr. Cory:

When your brain sends a message to a of the body, how fast does the message go?

Kaylin Staley Carmel, Indiana

Dear Kaylin:

It only takes a fraction of a second for the brain to receive a message from a nerve in the body, analyze the message, and send a new message back along the nerves, telling the body what to do. Messages can travel along nerve fibers at 220 miles per hour.

Your friend,

Cory SerVaas, M.D.
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Title Annotation:Questions and Answers; questions on vomiting, chickenpox, and the nervous system
Author:SerVaas, Cory
Publication:Children's Playmate
Date:Jan 1, 2000
Words:441
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