How to Care for Vomiting in Kids

Vomiting in kids is normal, but can also be severe enough to cause serious medical conditions. Here are some things to look for if your child is vomiting.

Steps

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    Try to determine any obvious reason for the vomiting. If you suspect poisoning, call the Poison Control Agency or emergency medical services immediately.
    • Smell the child's breath. Petroleum solvents will have an obvious odor if there is a chance your child has swallowed them.
    • Look for suspicious containers such as medications, cleaning solvents, or poisons which small children may have found.
    • Check the vomit for blood. Some ingested poisons may cause internal hemorrhaging, indicated by blood in the vomit.
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    Make sure your child remains hydrated. Give clear liquids with electrolytes, such as Pedialyte or a neutral sports drink.
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    Keep your child resting. Don't force them to stay in bed, but do limit their activities. Try reading to them.
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    If the child asks for food, give them something bland, like broth or bread. Only do this if they can keep it down for awhile (a couple hours at least).
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    Keep them home from school. After they stop vomiting for AT LEAST 48 hours, you can send them back to school. Stomach flu (norovirus) is highly contagious for 48 hours after all symptoms end. It is shed in feces for several weeks afterwards.
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    Stomach flu (norovirus) germs become airborne when a child vomits or has diarrhea. The viruses then coat all surfaces in the room, where they live for weeks. Clean all surfaces with 1 cup bleach in 1 quart water, PureGreen 24, or use a steam cleaner. Do NOT have visitors for 2-3 weeks, especially children, because the germs in your house will still be infectious.
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    Call their doctor if they aren't better in 24 hours, they can't keep fluids down, or the vomit is dark or bloody. You can also call if you have any questions.

Tips

  • Vomiting can be a symptom of anything from stomach flu to poisoning.
  • Vomiting is often a sign of dehydration, so make sure you give the child fluids, even if they vomit.
  • Don't drink carbonated drinks or eat chips. That will worsen the stomach and cause vomiting.
  • Try to give them only clear fluids, such as apple juice, broth, water, Gatorade, etc., for about 12 hours.

Warnings

  • Do not give them anything spicy, fatty, etc. This will worsen the vomiting.
  • Do not get angry at the child.
  • Call their pediatrician if the vomit is bloody, dark, etc.

Article Info

Categories: Childhood Health