Vomiting, also known as emesis, is the act of forcefully expelling the contents of the stomach through the mouth. It can be a symptom of a wide range of conditions, both minor and serious, in children.
The most common causes of vomiting in children are viral or bacterial infections, food poisoning, and gastrointestinal disorders such as gastroenteritis or stomach flu. Other causes can include dehydration, head injury, appendicitis, metabolic disorders, and certain medications.
Symptoms of vomiting in children can vary depending on the underlying cause, but generally include nausea, abdominal pain, and retching (the feeling of wanting to vomit). In some cases, vomiting may be accompanied by other symptoms such as diarrhea, fever, or headache.
The diagnosis of vomiting in children is typically made based on the child’s symptoms, physical examination, and medical history. Additional tests such as blood tests, urine tests, and imaging studies may be ordered to help identify the underlying cause.
Treatment for vomiting in children typically involves addressing the underlying cause and providing supportive care to prevent dehydration. This may include fluids to prevent dehydration, electrolyte replacement, and anti-nausea medications. In some cases, antibiotics may be prescribed if a bacterial infection is suspected.
Prevention of vomiting includes:
Washing hands frequently
Avoiding close contact with people who have vomiting or other viral or bacterial infections
Keeping children away from daycare or school when they are sick
Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces
Proper food handling and cooking methods
Avoiding sharing personal items such as eating utensils or cups
It is important to seek medical attention if a child is showing signs of severe illness, such as severe dehydration, blood in the vomit, or persistent vomiting. If a child is unable to keep fluids down, or showing signs of dehydration, you should seek medical attention promptly.