Sympathetic Vomiting

An outbreak of mass vomiting at a school in North Carolina is being attributed to some kids getting upset stomachs from eating a combination of fruit juice and spicy chips, and then a bunch of other kids being triggered into “sympathetic vomiting.” That's when people vomit in response to seeing other people vomit. According to, biologists suspect that the phenomenon has its roots in our evolutionary history:

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.

Other cases of sympathetic vomiting occasionally make headlines, such as in 2014 when a flight was forced to make an emergency landing after one person's vomiting caused five other people to do likewise.
     Posted By: Alex - Fri Mar 29, 2019
     Category: Psychology | Body Fluids | Stomach

"It's wafer-thin..."
Posted by Mr. Creosote on 03/29/19 at 10:03 AM
I remember being on a deep sea fishing trip that was delayed and pushed from a full day to half due to high seas. Captain Stacy out of Morehead City North Carolina. The boat was also having trouble and they were not going able to anchor. The captain idled the engine instead to try to remain over the fish. With the combination of diesel fumes, rolling boat, warm stinky bait buckets full of squid juice spilling all over the deck, it didn’t take long for the first casualty. Soon there were people rolling all over the deck trying to vomit in plastic grocery bags, if it wasn’t so gross it would have been comical. The sympathy puking was strong that day and soon almost every single person on the boat was vomiting except the crew. I remember my sister saying “look at the horizon” by it didn’t matter. In retrospect, I should have cut my losses and called it a day once we knew about the high seas.
Posted by Burgher on 03/29/19 at 10:04 PM
It's pretty funny when "Family Guy" does it...
Posted by KDP on 03/29/19 at 11:25 PM
I saw this happen several times when I would pull a shift in the blood drawing room while I was an Army medical technician during the Vietnam War. One soldier would throw up his breakfast, and another who was sitting next to him would also throw up less than a minute later. Drawing blood was the least favorite job in the lab, so the task was rotated every two weeks. That way, nobody would be stuck (pun intended) having to do it full time. Mopping up the vomit was actually considered preferable to drawing blood.
Posted by Fritz on 03/30/19 at 06:18 AM
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