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Vomiting is the body’s way of expelling contents from the stomach, sometimes to get rid of something poisonous. Whatever the reason, your baby’s stomach muscles will contract forcefully, and food will flow back up through his esophagus and into his mouth and sometimes through his nose.
A stomach virus or “flu” is the most common cause of vomiting. The medical name for this disease is acute gastroenteritis (AGE), and it often includes diarrhea, fever, and abdominal pain. severe bacterial infection from E. coli, salmonella, And shigella The germs that cause food poisoning can cause similar symptoms.
Surprisingly, respiratory infections can also cause vomiting. When babies swallow too much phlegm, the extra mucus can irritate their stomachs and cause them to vomit. Coughing can also trigger vomiting – a reflex designed to actually reduce coughing.
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Other common causes of vomiting:
- Toxins, such as poisonous plants, or herbs that are inappropriate for children, or medicines.
- Overeating, especially at birthday parties and on Halloween.
- motion sickness. Traveling in a car, boat or airplane can make some children restless. Have your child have a light breakfast before leaving, breathe fresh air and focus on distant objects during the journey.
- food allergies. Some food allergies can cause diarrhea or loose stools and sometimes vomiting.
- Appendicitis. Symptoms may seem indistinguishable from a stomach virus, but the illness can be much more severe, so pay attention to this pattern: With appendicitis, abdominal pain usually starts around the navel and moves to the lower right side of the abdomen. . Intestinal obstruction causes vomiting that contains bile, a forest-green colored stomach secretion.
- urinary tract infections. If your child is vomiting with frequent, painful urination, he may have a urinary tract infection. Your doctor will want to examine him and examine his urine.
- Headache. When headache is accompanied by vomiting, it may indicate a viral illness. However, severe headache and vomiting can be symptoms of migraine or meningitis, which is an infection around the brain. Stiff neck, fever, restlessness, and a bumpy purple or red rash are other symptoms of meningitis. Get emergency medical care right away if your child shows these symptoms.
- pregnancy. Once a girl enters puberty, nausea and vomiting can be an early sign of pregnancy.
When should I call the pediatrician?
Dehydration is the most common complication of vomiting. If your child shows any signs of dehydration, contact your doctor. Symptoms to watch for:
- no urine for eight hours
- cry without tears
- dry, sticky mouth
- excessive sleepiness
- dark urine
- moist, patchy skin on the hands and feet
- muscle cramps
- sunken eyes
- cold feeling in hands and feet
You should also call the pediatrician immediately if you notice blood or bile in your child’s vomit. Typically, vomit consists of recently eaten or drank items; Once the stomach is emptied, only frothy-yellow stomach secretions come out. The presence of blood, whether it is bright red or dark like coffee grounds, is a serious sign. Similarly, bile, a forest-green discharge, may indicate an intestinal blockage—a potential surgical emergency.
Most children suffering from vomiting have some kind of abdominal pain. But if your child’s pain seems severe, lasts more than four hours, or is located in the right lower abdomen, contact your doctor right away.
If you suspect that your child has ingested spoiled food, medicine, plants, or chemicals, call poison control or your pediatrician immediately.
How do I care for my baby when he vomits?
Change his diet. If he is vomiting, stop all solid foods for at least eight hours. If he’s older than 1 year old and isn’t dehydrated (see above), give him Kool-Aid or clear liquids such as broth or flat soda pops with no caffeine. (Avoid red Kool-Aid as it can make stool look red and confused with blood.) Avoid liquids that are cold or supersweet; They stimulate more abdominal contractions and vomiting, making an uncomfortable baby even more miserable. Do not give fruit juice or milk to your child. Water and ice chips are fine as long as he doesn’t have diarrhea.
If your child shows signs of dehydration, use an electrolyte solution such as Pedialyte, Infalyte, or Kaolectrolyte. Children who are somewhat dehydrated will accept the salty taste of liquids that are designed to replace vital salts lost by the body through vomiting and diarrhea. If your child has severe diarrhea, you will need to replace those fluids with electrolyte solutions to keep him from becoming dehydrated.
Give your child frequent small amounts of fluids; Too much fluid too quickly can further upset an already upset stomach and cause it to vomit again. For children 1 to 6 years old, start with one tablespoon of liquid every 10 minutes. (This equates to about one sip every commercial break.) Children over the age of 6 should try an ounce every ten minutes. Double this amount when your child has gone four hours without vomiting. If vomiting persists, stop all fluids for an hour and resume with smaller amounts.
Once your baby has gone eight hours without vomiting, you can reintroduce soft solids such as crackers, toast, noodles, soup broth with rice and mashed potatoes. Resume a normal diet gradually, starting 24 hours after vomiting has ended. The vomiting that accompanies a stomach virus usually goes away within 24 hours. (Don’t push solid foods when your baby is well. His tummy will let him know when it’s time to eat.)
What if my child has a respiratory infection?
Treat vomiting by treating other problems when your child vomits because of coughing and phlegm.
There’s no effective medicine for vomiting caused by a stomach virus—and that can be a good thing. This type of vomiting clears the body of the infected substance; It should not be pressed.
Anti-vomiting drugs can be potentially dangerous when they slow down intestinal function and mask symptoms. Do not use over-the-counter medications for nausea and vomiting without first consulting your doctor.
Over-the-counter medications include meclizine (Antivert), diphenhydramine (Benadryl), dimenhydrinate (Dramine), Ametrol (phosphorylated carbohydrate), Coca-Cola syrup and Pepto Bismol (bismuth compound). Meclizine is not recommended for children under 12 years of age; Other medicines should not be used for children under 2 years of age. Never give Pepto Bismol to children with influenza or chicken pox; It contains salicylates that have been linked to Reye’s syndrome, a rare but potentially life-threatening condition.
Prescription medications for nausea and vomiting include prochlorperazine (Compazine), promethazine (Phenergan), chlorpromazine (Thorazine), trimethobenzamide (Tigan), and a scopolamine skin patch (Transderm Scop). These powerful drugs all have side effects, and are not recommended for common stomach viruses. If your doctor prescribes any of these medicines, use them strictly according to directions, watch your child closely, and report any changes to your pediatrician right away.
What are some home remedies?
For babies over the age of 1, these include tummy-friendly teas like chamomile and peppermint. Ginger can also soothe a sick stomach. If you choose to give ginger ale, make sure it contains real ginger and not just ginger ale. And as with all carbonated liquids, de-fizzle it first.
If your child (other than an infant) has a stomach virus with fever, acetaminophen suppositories are an easy way to bring down the fever without giving medicine by mouth to the vomiting child.
American Academy of Pediatrics, Caring for Your Baby and Young Child: Birth to Age 5. Bantam.
American Academy of Pediatrics, HealthChildren.org, Vomiting treatment. http://www.healthychildren.org/English/health-issues/conditions/abdominal/pages/Treating-Vomiting.aspx
The Baby Book: Everything You Need to Know About Your Baby from Birth to Age Two, William Sears, Little, Brown & Co.