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Vomiting Dehydration Diarrhea

How to Deal with a Child Vomiting at Home

Dealing with a sick child can be very scary for parents. I see this everyday in my career as an Emergency Room Nurse. Sometimes the child only has to vomit once and they are rushed straight to the ER. Which can be a very scary place for a child. Vomiting can be caused by a multitude of things including viruses, bacteria, many different disease processes, and ingesting poisons to name a few.

When they are brought to the ER, the parents usually say “they can’t hold anything down, not even water.” If your stomach is upset and you keep putting more food and fluid in it, you’re just going to vomit it back up. So to keep this from happening, do the following:

1. DO NOT eat or drink anything for 1-2 hours after vomiting.
2. If no vomiting occurs within that time, start with clear, noncarbonated liquids every 30 minutes. For infants and children use 1-2 Tablespoons. Liquids such as: sweet fruit juice (not orange or grapefruit juice) and pedialyte.
3. After 4-6 hours without further vomiting, slowly increase the volume of fluids.
4. After 12-18 hours without further vomiting, try bland foods: soda crackers, toast, dry cereal, etc.
5. If vomiting reoccurs, go back to step 1.

Of course, if high fever or severe abdominal pain occurs or the vomiting has not stopped within 1 to 2 days call the family pediatrician or go to the ER.

Now if the child is also experiencing diarrhea with the vomiting then stay away from sugar juices and dairy products because they can make the diarrhea worse. You can use the BRAT diet to help control the diarrhea, which is as follows:
1. Bananas
2. Rice
3. Applesauce/apples
4. Toast (dry)/Tea.

Again, if you’ve tried the above without any improvement then seek medical attention because children are at high risk for dehydration. A child can dehydrate very fast. Some signs and symptoms to look for are:
poor skin turgor, dry mucus membranes, no tears when they cry, decreased urine output, breathing fast, pale, agitated, sunken fontanel – these are to name a few.

In summary, you can control vomiting at home, but you need to pay attention to your child to prevent dehydration issues. Also listen to your instincts, no one knows your child better than you do. If something don’t seem right go to the nearest Emergency Room.