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Vomiting

The video shows a child aged one and a half who has been vomiting and has had diarrhea for two days. Here you can see the various signs of dehydration in a child.

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Most people know what vomiting is. It is a rapid emptying of large quantities of stomach contents through the mouth. It is different from regurgitation which is when small quantities of food come back up through the mouth. Regurgitation or spitting off, in infants during meals, is quite common. It's also not unusual for them to spit up after meals, but if this happens too frequently, leads to poor weight gain or seems to be painful, consult your doctor. Here is what you really need to know and do about vomiting. Children who suddenly start vomiting are usually bothered by acute gastroenteritis, a viral infection of the stomach and intestines. Often, a child with gastroenteritis also had diarrhea and may even have a fever. Most cases of acute gastroenteritis don't require specific medicine or treatment and will get better by themselves over a period of a few days. The most important thing is to prevent dehydration by making sure the child drinks enough fluids. There are, however, situations involving vomiting where it is very important to get the child to the doctor at once. The first is severe dehydration. What are the signs of dehydration? Listlessness, exhaustion, sunken eyes, dry lips or mouth, not making urine for more than 4 to 6 hours in a baby or more than 6 to 8 hours in an older child. And remember, young children, especially infants less than 6 months old, can become dehydrated much more quickly than older children. Again, if the child seems dehydrated, go to the doctor immediately. To get a good sense of what a child with dehydration looks like, click on the links. Also call the doctor at once if you have the baby less than 1 month of age and she vomits after every attempt to feed. Newborns can become sick very quickly. So, if this happens more than a few times, call your doctor right away. You may have heard about projectile vomiting where the baby throws up with unusual force. If your child is under 3 months of age and is experiencing frequent, forceful projectile vomiting, get her to the doctor right away. There are a few more situations in which you should get to the doctor at once. If the child is vomiting after a head injury, if the vomit is green, if the child vomits up blood or the vomit contains something that looks like coffee grinds or if the vomiting is associated with the dramatic change in your child's mental status, that is, your child seems extremely tired, lethargic or just out of it, then, get your child to the doctor at once. These are all signs that the vomiting may be caused by a more serious illness than just gastroenteritis. Generally, vomiting is something to keep an eye on and usually gets better by itself within a day or two. If the vomiting lasts for more than 24 hours in a child under 2 or for more than 48 hours in a child over 2, take them to your doctor. If your child experiences vomiting accompanied by severe stomach pains or complains of a headache, call your doctor. In addition to making sure your child drinks enough fluids, there are several other home treatments that can make them feel more comfortable. Click on the Home Treatment link. And if you are concerned or unsure about your child's vomiting, don't hesitate to call your doctor.