Bringing up Tips To Keep Vomiting Down
Parents have been bringing up lots of questions about what to do when their child vomits. Well let me see if I can toss some information out – which is better than tossing one’s cookies on this topic!
Vomiting is a way for the body to get rid of something that it doesn’t like – whether it is an invader like a germ, an irritant like a food that has spoiled, or even pressure that builds up somewhere in the body.
It is a complex process that is coordinated by a “vomiting center” located in the brain, which responds to signals from the body saying it needs to evacuate the stomach contents and get rid of the insult on the body. This evacuation occurs by sending half-digested food mixed with stomach mucus, saliva, stomach acids and other chemicals up the food pipe and out the mouth.
When do we worry about vomiting? Seek medical attention immediately if any of the following describe your child’s vomiting:
If the vomiting occurs once or twice, then the name of the game is to stay calm so as not to further frighten your child, and make sure your child remains hydrated. Offering steady small amounts of clear liquids or oral hydration solutions is the way to go. Your child’s doctor can tell you how much to give your child each hour based on the age and weight of your child.
Giving solids or large amounts of liquid may simply make the vomiting worse in the first 24 hours. If your child has not vomited for at least 8 hours, then it is probably okay to introduce mild, bland foods back into their diet such as crackers, toast, broth, rice, and mashed potatoes.
It would be rare for your child’s doctor to recommend medications to prevent mild vomiting due to a stomach virus or indigestion – since the sooner the body rids itself of whatever is bothering it, the better off your child will feel, and delaying this from happening may only make matters worse.
Hopefully tips like this will stay down with you and your child when it comes to knowing what to do and when to worry about your child’s vomiting.
Lewis First, M.D., is chief of Pediatrics at Vermont Children's Hospital at Fletcher Allen Health Care and chair of the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Vermont College of Medicine. You can also catch "First with Kids" weekly on WOKO 98.9FM and WPTZ Channel 5, or visit the First with Kids video archives at http://www.FletcherAllen.org/firstwithkids