Vomiting in children is normal, even for infants. Vomiting is the forceful ejection of the stomach’s contents through the mouth, and sometimes, even through the nose. Vomiting is a natural defense ofthe body to remove any potentially toxic substances in the body. Its medical term is emesis.It can be caused by a wide variety of illnesses, ranging from mild to severe but the most common cause of vomiting in babies and children is gastroenteritis. Infections generally last from several days to a few weeks. And although there is rarelya need for medical services, treatment should be immediate to avoid complications such as dehydration or severe loss of fluids.
Cause of Vomiting in Children
The following conditions are the most common causes of vomiting in children. These causes are highly similar to what causes vomiting in adults as well. However, sometimes the cause of vomiting may be undetermined.
- Gastroenteritis: inflammation of gastrointestinal tract usually caused by virus, bacteria and parasites
- Other flus: seasonal flu, swine flu etc.
- Food poisoning: eating food contaminated with bacteria
- Food allergies and irritations: most common food allergens include seafood, eggs, milk, etc.
- Anxiety and stress: worries increase likelihood of vomiting but more common in older children
- Nerve and brain conditions: trauma, tumors, etc.
- Other illnesses: infected appendix, ear infections, urinary infection, airway infection, acid reflux, etc.
- Eating too much
- Motion sickness
Symptoms of Vomiting in Children
Although vomiting is a symptom for an underlying condition in the body, it may be accompanied by several symptoms that could identify the cause of vomiting.
- Pain or swelling in the abdominal region
- Loss of appetite
- Rapid pulse or rapid breathing
- Pale, clammy skin
When to seek medical help:
- Persistent vomiting (more than 24 hours)
- Child has not been able to keep fluids down for the last eight hours
- Severe abdominal pain
- Stiff neck or headache
- Dry, sticky mouth
- Little or no tears when crying
- Dark yellow or very little or no urine at all
First Aid Management for Vomiting in Children
There is usually no need to call for medical help in vomiting children, except when it is severe. First aid can be used to treat vomiting in children and can help alleviate symptoms. The following is to be used as tips and cannot serve as a substitute for medical advice or first aid training.
- Parents or caregivers should stay calm. Showing panic may cause the child to panic as well. Reassure the child that it would all be over soon.
- After the child has vomited, help the child rinse his/ her mouth with water. If the child is not able to, give the child a small amount of water to drink.
- Continue breastfeeding in infants.
- Give plenty of fluids, however, they should not be drank directly after vomiting to avoid stomach irritation. If the child is thirsty, give small amounts of water using a teaspoon.
- Avoid giving solid food until there has been a good six hours since the last vomit.
- It is not recommended to treat vomiting children with over-the-counter (OTC) medications unless prescribed by the doctor.
- If there is severe vomiting in children, oral rehydration solutions can be recommended.