What To Do After Your Child Vomits

Vomiting most commonly among children is due to a viral infection called gastroenteritis. This infection starts off in the stomach causing inflammation that results in vomiting.

Vomiting can last up to 24 hours before the infection moves down into the intestine where this inflammation will cause diarrhea. Diarrhea can last up to 2 weeks in some cases but usually averages about 1 week after the vomiting.

Once your child has vomited, it is really important not to give any fluids including sips of water for 2 hours in order to allow the stomach inflammation to calm down. After 2 hours, you can test the stomach to see if it will accept fluids by allowing your child to have licks of a popsicle or some ice chips. If the stomach does not respond with vomit then you can advance to sips of fluids such as water or Gatorade.

If your child vomits again, then wait another 2 hours for the stomach inflammation to settle down and repeat the above process. Do not be worried that your school age child is becoming dehydrated unless the vomiting persists for over 24 hours.

This infection is very contagious via airborne (a cough or sneeze from an infected child) or by touching a surface that has some infection on it and then touching your nose or mouth. The best way to prevent the spread of gastroenteritis is to make sure hands are washed before snack and lunch time.

Diarrhea of gastroenteritis is also very infectious to others if your child does not wash their hands after using the restroom and touches things throughout the school. Your child may return to school once their has been no vomiting for 24 hours as well as no fever for 24 hours. A fever is 100.5 F or more. Your child may return to school with diarrhea but one should make sure it is not frequent to cause disruption.

Re-enforce to your child that washing their hands after having diarrhea is very important. Most pediatrician allow gastroenteritis to run its course. In my practice, I prescribe Zofran to stop the vomit and encourage a probiotic twice a day until the diarrhea is gone in order to calm the inflammation of the gut. Be assured that what ever weight your child has lost during this infection, it will be regained fairly quickly. 

Take Care and Stay Well,
Dr. Roma Franzia

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