Vomiting is a common occurrence for children and can often be caused by various factors, such as an upset stomach, motion sickness, or a virus. One common cause of vomiting is gastroenteritis, also called stomach flu, which is usually due to viral infections but can also be caused by bacteria or parasites. Along with vomiting, stomach pain, nausea, and diarrhea may also occur. Vomiting caused by gastroenteritis usually lasts less than 24 hours, and other symptoms can get better within a few days. While it can be distressing for parents and children, vomiting is usually not a severe health concern. It can be managed with simple home remedies and self-care measures.
Vomiting Without Fever
If your child is throwing up with no fever, it could be due to a variety of reasons, such as:
Indigestion – Overeating or eating too quickly can cause indigestion leading to vomiting. Certain foods, such as spicy or high-fat, can also trigger indigestion and vomiting.
Motion Sickness – Travel by car, train, plane, or boat can cause motion sickness, leading to vomiting. Motion sickness is most common in children between the ages of 2 and 12, and symptoms can include nausea, vomiting, and dizziness.
Food Allergies – Some children are allergic to certain foods or ingredients such as dairy, soy, peanuts, or shellfish. Consuming these foods can trigger an allergic reaction, leading to vomiting and other symptoms like hives or trouble breathing.
Acid Reflux – Acid reflux occurs when stomach acid flows back into the esophagus and can cause vomiting, especially after eating. Other symptoms of acid reflux may include heartburn and chest pain.
Stress or Anxiety – Emotional stress or anxiety can cause nausea and vomiting in some children, particularly if they are experiencing feelings of fear or nervousness. Examples of situations that can trigger stress or anxiety in children include school performance, family conflict, or social pressure.
It’s essential to monitor your child’s condition closely and seek medical attention if their vomiting symptoms persist for an extended period or show signs of dehydration, such as a dry mouth, infrequent urination, or sunken eyes. (WebMD)
Rotavirus is a contagious virus that can cause vomiting and diarrhea in infants and young children. Children can get infected by touching contaminated surfaces, food, or water. Symptoms usually appear within 2-3 days, including vomiting, diarrhea, fever, and stomach pain. It can cause severe dehydration in babies and young children, which can be dangerous if not treated quickly. If you think your child has rotavirus, keep them hydrated and seek medical help if needed. There is a vaccine that can help prevent rotavirus in children. (Gavin)
When Vomiting is an Emergency
Usually, when a child vomits, it might not be an emergency, but sometimes it can be more serious. Here are signs that it might be an emergency:
- Dehydration: If the child keeps throwing up and can’t drink enough fluids, they could get dehydrated. If you think they’re thirsty, especially if they’re a baby or young child, get help immediately. Look for signs like a dry mouth, sunken eyes, less urine, being tired, or being very fussy.
- Persistent Vomiting: If the child is throwing up a lot, forcefully, or it doesn’t get better, and they have other worrisome signs, it might be a medical emergency. This is especially true if the vomit has blood, looks like bile, or your child is in a lot of pain.
- Head Injury: If the child vomits after hitting their head, especially if they pass out or act strange, it could be a more severe problem like a concussion. Get medical help right away in those cases.
- Belly Pain: If throwing up is accompanied by severe belly pain, especially if the pain is in one spot, it could mean something serious like appendicitis or a blocked bowel.
When Vomiting is an Emergency
While vomiting is a common occurrence in children and often not a cause for immediate alarm, there are certain situations where seeking emergency medical attention is necessary. If your child experiences severe or persistent vomiting, particularly if it is accompanied by other concerning symptoms such as high fever, severe abdominal pain, signs of dehydration (e.g., dry mouth, decreased urine output), lethargy, or difficulty breathing, it is essential to go to the emergency room.
These symptoms may indicate a more serious underlying condition that requires immediate evaluation and treatment.
WebMD. “Why Is My Child Throwing up with No Fever? Nausea and Vomiting, Age 11 and Younger.” WebMD, www.webmd.com/children/guide/child-throw-up-no-fever.
“Rotavirus (for Parents) – Nemours Kidshealth.” Edited by Mary L. Gavin, KidsHealth, The Nemours Foundation, May 2021, kidshealth.org/en/parents/rotavirus.html.
WebMD. “Serious Symptoms in Children: Possible Signs of an Emergency Situation.” WebMD, www.webmd.com/children/features/serious-symptoms-in-children.
“Vomiting (for Parents) – Nemours Kidshealth.” Edited by Mary L. Gavin, KidsHealth, The Nemours Foundation, May 2021, kidshealth.org/en/parents/vomit.html.