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What are the Most Common Causes of Vomiting in Children?

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  • Written By: Haven Esme
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 28 August 2016
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There are a number of underlying causes for vomiting in children. Bacteria, viruses, and parasites can all cause this condition. Fortunately, there are certain things that a parent or caregiver can do to eliminate vomiting in children and help a child recover.

One of the most common reasons for vomiting in children is gastroenteritis, caused by a virus that affects the gastrointestinal tract. A more common term used to describe this condition is stomach flu. Although the stomach flu usually doesn't last long, it can still be dangerous and cause frequent vomiting in children.

Vomiting can be harmful because it can cause a child to become dehydrated quickly. Signs of dehydration include irritability, weight loss, dry mouth, urinating less frequently, and sleepiness. Symptoms of severe dehydration include wrinkled or dry skin, sunken eyes, and a rapid or weakened pulse. Children who are vomiting need to be taken care of so that more serious healthcare issues do not arise.

Vomiting in children can also be caused by foods that are too difficult for the child to digest. Common foods that are particularly hard for children to digest include sugar and undercooked meat. Giving the child's stomach a rest from food is one of the first things that a parent should do for a vomiting child. Parents should skip a meal or two until a child's stomach settles down. This is also true for mothers who are breastfeeding or bottle-feeding.

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There are certain steps that a parent can take to help a child under the age of six months that is vomiting. An infant that is vomiting should be given 10 to 15 grams of an oral electrolyte solution. This will keep the infant from dehydration and may also ease the infant's stomach. Parents that are breast-feeding should continue to give their child breast milk after the child's stomach has settled. Children who are over one year old should not be given milk products.

Individuals should always call a doctor if a child is vomiting and is younger than six months old, has a fever of more than 100 degrees Fahrenheit (37.8 degrees Celsius), has signs of dehydration, has abdominal pain for more than two hours, has a stiff neck, is unusually sleepy, or has blood in the vomit. A child who is vomiting should also receive some parental comfort.

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