Gastroenterology, Hepatology & Nutrition
Vomiting is most often caused by a minor infection. Some serious illnesses may cause vomiting. However, we do not feel that your child has any of these illnesses. Vomiting caused by an infection usually lasts only a couple of days. It can often be treated at home.
The main danger from vomiting is dehydration (de-hi-DRAY-shun), or being "dried out." Your child will need to drink plenty of liquids to prevent this. Choking is another danger. To prevent choking, when your child vomits, turn his head to the side or hold him in an upright position with the head forward.
WARNING: Some medicines used for vomiting in older children or adults are very dangerous for young children. DO NOT give your child any medicine unless your doctor has told you to use it for this child.
When your child is vomiting very often, try giving small amounts of clear liquids often. For example, give 1/2 to 1 ounce (1 to 2 tablespoons) every 20 minutes for a few hours. For babies, give 1 to 2 teaspoonfuls every few minutes. This may reduce the vomiting. If he or she is able to take liquids this way, gradually increase the amount. If your child still vomits, wait for one hour and try to give small amounts of liquid again.
When children are vomiting they usually don't feel like eating solid food. If your child feels like eating, it won't hurt him, but he must also drink plenty of liquids. Children who don't feel like eating food still need to drink plenty of liquids to keep from getting dehydrated. After about 6 to 8 hours of giving clear liquids, try to get your child to start eating some food.
If your child is younger than 1 year old, you may give Pedialyte® or another balanced electrolyte solution such as Infalyte®, Naturalyte®, Rehydralyte®, or KAO Lectrolyte® (powdered rehydration mix). These products are sold at most pharmacies without a prescription. Pedialyte is even good for older children. For an older child you may give the following:
DO NOT give your child undiluted fruit juice, or diet candy or gum, since these may make him feel worse. Do not give broth-based soups.
After your child is able to take clear liquids, start to give small amounts of solid foods that he likes. Avoid foods that are high in sugar, such as candy and cookies, and very greasy foods.
Call your child's doctor if you think your child is getting worse, or if:
When vomiting is caused by a germ that is contagious, you can help to protect other family members by following these steps:
If you have any questions, be sure to ask your doctor or nurse.
HH-I-71 2/77, Revised 9/11 Copyright 1977-2011, Nationwide Children’s Hospital