THE KID’S DOCTOR: How to care for a child who's vomiting frequently
Sunday, April 16, 2017

Make sure your child consumes clear liquids after vomiting to stay hydrated. 

Photo by Dreamstine.com
 
By Sue Hubbard, M.D.
www.kidsdr.com
 
 Pick a virus and it is probably circulating in your area. Seems we are at the peak of upper respiratory season, influenza season and also vomiting and diarrhea season. In other words, lots of sick kids right now. 
 
  I just started seeing a lot of vomiting again. It is the worst for both the child and the doctor's office, where it seems many a child has vomited either in the car, coming up the elevator or in the exam room.  
 
  Remember, norovirus is the most common virus that causes vomiting and diarrhea, and it is VERY contagious. Not only via "dirty hands," but it is also airborne; so those standing near a child who is vomiting (i.e., parents and other sibs) are likely being exposed as well. That is the main reason you probably see an entire family who gets sick almost simultaneously.   
 
  If your child vomits, DO NOT give them anything to eat or drink for at least 30 minutes. I know that is hard as they are asking for a drink, but you need to give your child's tummy a minute to "recover" before challenging it with a few sips of Pedialyte or Gatorade. A SIP is the key word too; start with a tiny amount in the hopes that they do not vomit again.   
 
  I just saw a 6-year-old boy who had been vomiting several times during the night. His dad said that he had given him Zofran to help stop the vomiting (this is a prescription).  I use a lot of Zofran in children who are vomiting, as it can go under the tongue. But after the Zofran his son felt better, so he gave him strawberries and a waffle. Surprise! He vomited again! 
 
  Don't be fooled and then start trying to feed your child too quickly after they have vomited. I know parents worry that "their child is not eating," but fluids are the important part of staying hydrated. As one little boy told me, "It feels like there are grasshoppers in my tummy!" So well put. A grumbling tummy needs time to heal, and frequent sips of clear liquids (no dairy) are the best way to prevent dehydration. As your child tolerates a small volume you can go up a bit and gradually increase the amount that they take. I usually wait a good four to six hours after a child has successfully tolerated fluids before I even consider giving them food. Then I start with crackers, noodles or something bland (that I also don't mind cleaning up) in case they vomit again. You simply want to make sure your child stays hydrated. And keep washing those hands! 
 
Dr. Sue Hubbard is an award-winning pediatrician, medical editor and media host. "The Kid's Doctor" TV feature can be seen on more than 90 stations across the U.S. Submit questions at http://www.kidsdr.com. The Kid's Doctor e-book, "Tattoos to Texting: Parenting Today's Teen," is now available from Amazon and other e-book vendors.
 
Printed in the April 16 - April 29, 2017 edition
 

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