Story by: Maggie Roetker on February 17, 2017
January and February are typically times when pediatrician offices are swamped with calls: Children have caught some kind of bug or the flu that is causing vomiting. As a parent, what do you do?
Most of the time, vomiting just needs to run its course. During that time, you can help your child stay hydrated and as comfortable as possible.
“The main thing you need to do is keep your child hydrated,” said Jameel T. Clark, M.D., Norton Children’s Medical Group – Dixie. “It’s hard to do, especially when everything that goes down comes back up right away.”
Dr. Clark offers some tips:
“It may take a while for your child’s appetite to come back and that’s normal,” Dr. Clark said.
While a child is vomiting, he or she may be extremely thirsty or not want to drink at all.
“Your child may want to gulp water,” Dr. Clark said. “But that can cause the vomiting to continue. Small, frequent sips of liquids are more likely to be tolerated.”
If he or she isn’t interested in drinking at all, that can cause issues as well. Watch for signs of severe dehydration, which can be a medical emergency. Symptoms can include decreased urination, sunken eyes, dry skin and confusion or extreme tiredness. If these occur, seek medical care immediately.
Tired of changing sheets and clothes? Many times children are able to make it to the bathroom to vomit in the toilet. They just need to be told what to do — very specifically. If your child is worried, provide a bucket or large bowl to have handy nearby.
There are some instances when the child should be seen at the nearest emergency department. These are:
“Vomiting caused by a stomach bug usually doesn’t last long,” Dr. Clark said. “If vomiting lasts longer than 48 to 72 hours, if a headache develops along with the vomiting, or if you’re at all concerned about your child’s vomiting, call your pediatrician.”
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