Home Care Advice for Vomiting Without Diarrhea
For Bottlefed Infants Offer Oral Rehydration Solution (ORS) for 8 Hours:
- Most vomiting is caused by a viral infection of the stomach or mild food poisoning.
- Vomiting is the body's way of protecting the lower intestinal tract.
- Fortunately, vomiting illnesses are usually brief.
For Breastfed Infants, Reduce the Amount Per Feeding:
- ORS (eg. Pedialyte or the store brand) is a special electrolyte solution that can prevent dehydration. It's readily available in supermarkets and drug stores.
- For vomiting once, continue regular formula.
- For vomiting more than once, offer ORS for 8 hours. If ORS not available, use formula.
- Spoon or syringe feed small amounts: 1-2 teaspoons (5-10 ml) every 5 minutes.
- After 4 hours without vomiting, double the amount.
- After 8 hours without vomiting, return to regular formula.
- For infants over 4 months old, also return to cereal, strained bananas, etc.
- Return to normal diet in 24-48 hours.
For Older Children (over 1 Year Old) Offer Small Amounts of Clear Fluids For 8 Hours:
- If vomits once, nurse 1 side every 1 to 2 hours.
- If vomits more than once, nurse for 5 minutes every 30 to 60 minutes. After 4 hours without vomiting, return to regular breastfeeding.
- If continues to vomit, switch to ORS (e.g., Pedialyte) for 4 hours.
- Spoon or syringe feed small amounts of ORS: 1-2 teaspoons (5-10 ml) every 5 minutes.
- After 4 hours without vomiting, return to regular breastfeeding. Start with small feedings of 5 minutes every 30 minutes and increase as tolerated.
- Water or ice chips are best for vomiting in older children. (Reason: Water is directly absorbed across the stomach wall)
- ORS: If child vomits water, offer Oral Rehydration Solution (e.g., Pedialyte). If refuses ORS, use ½ strength Gatorade.
- Give small amounts: 2-3 teaspoons (10-15 ml) every 5 minutes.
- Other options: ½ strength flat lemon-lime soda, popsicles or ORS frozen pops.
- After 4 hours without vomiting, increase the amount.
- After 8 hours without vomiting, return to regular fluids.
- Caution: if vomiting continues over 12 hours, switch to ORS or half-strength Gatorade.
- Solids: After 8 hours without vomiting, add solids:
- Limit solids to bland foods. Starchy foods are easiest to digest.
- Start with saltine crackers, white bread, cereals, rice, mashed potatoes, etc.
- Return to normal diet in 24-48 hours.
Sleep: Help your child go to sleep for a few hours. (Reason: Sleep often empties the stomach and relieves the need to vomit). Your child doesn't have to drink anything if he feels very nauseated.
Contagiousness: Your child can return to child care or school after vomiting and fever are gone.
Expected Course: Vomiting from viral gastritis usually stops in 12 to 24 hours. Mild vomiting with nausea may last up to 3 days.
Call Your Doctor If:
- Discontinue all non-prescription medicines for 8 hours (reason: usually make vomiting worse).
- Fever: Fevers usually don't need any medicine. For higher fevers, consider acetaminophen (Tylenol) suppositories. Never give oral ibuprofen; it is a stomach irritant.
- Call your doctor if: vomiting a prescription medicine.
- Vomiting becomes severe (vomits everything) over 8 hours
- Vomiting persists over 24 hours
- Signs of dehydration
- Your child becomes worse
And remember, contact your doctor if your child develops any of the "Call Your Doctor" symptoms.
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Disclaimer: This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. It is provided for educational purposes only. You assume full responsibility for how you choose to use this information. For more information, click here.
Author and Senior Reviewer: Barton D. Schmitt, M.D. Clinical content review provided by Senior Reviewer and Healthpoint Medical Network.
Last Review Date: 8/1/2011
Last Revised: 8/1/2011 3:35:04 PM
Content Set: Pediatric HouseCalls Symptom Checker
Copyright 1994-2012 Barton D. Schmitt, M.D.