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Vomiting is common with infants and small children. Often it is caused by stomach upset from a virus. An infection, pain, excitement, new food or other problems can also cause it. Vomiting that lasts for more than 6 hours and if the infant vomits every spoon he swallows should be considered serious. This case must be seen by a health worker at the earliest.
Vomiting can cause dehydration, and as the child looses more chloride (stomach contains HCl acid) which can be very serious. Dehydration happens when your child loses too much liquid. You can prevent dehydration by increasing the amount of liquid your child drinks. If you observe following signs you must consult a health worker. If you see any one of the following signs that are underlined you must take your child immediately to a hospital.

  • Child has not urinated in 6 hours. (Babies usually have 6-8 wet diapers in 24 hours.)
  • Child is less active than normal or is unusually sleepy.
  • Child's urine is dark yellow and may smell strong like ammonia.
  • Child's mouth is dry and sticky.
  • Child's eyes are sunken.
  • Child has no energy and is difficult to wake up.
  • Child has a convulsion.
  • If your child has green or bloody vomit.

    You should start giving liquids to your children whenever s/he starts vomiting. Following fluid could be given:

    • Breast milk
    • Jeevan Jal (please read the packet for how to make it).
    • Rice water (mix 60 G of rice powder in 1000 ml of water and boil it for 2 minutes. You may add a pinch of salt so that the salty taste will be similar to tear.
    • Dal soup.
    Older children
    • Jeevan Jal
    • Weak tea
    • Soup

    How to give liquids to children
    • Breast feed more often and for a shorter amount of time. For example, breast feed every half hour for 10 minutes on 1 breast. After 2 or 3 hours, if this is tolerated well, return to your normal breast feeding schedule.
    • If you are bottle feeding, start with Jeevan Jal. Give 1 ounce every half hour for 2 or 3 hours. If the baby takes this well, try 1/2 strength formula for 1 or 2 feedings. Then return to normal feedings with regular strength formula. No more than 2 feedings should be 1/2 strength formula.
    • If vomiting continues, offer 2 or 3 ounces of Jeevan Jal or any fluid as mentioned earlier after each time the baby vomits. Continue feedings with regular formula or breast milk.

    Older children
    • Give liquids in small amounts and frequently. For example, give 1 or 2 ounces every half hour. If your child takes this well, increase the amount a little every half hour. If your child vomits, decrease the amount of liquid for the next feeding and then try to slowly increase the amount again with every feeding after that.
    • Slowly advance the diet to a regular diet. Greasy foods and foods high in sugar should be added slowly because they may increase vomiting.
    • Foods to start with

      • Rice/dal
      • Jaulo
      • Chicken soup (without adding ghee or oil)
      • Potatoes
      • Bananas

    Foods to avoid until the vomiting improves

    • Fruit juice
    • Plain glucose drinks
    • Fried foods
    • Dairy products
    • Haluwa

    Warning: Do not use any medication for your baby or child unless your doctor tells you to give it to your child. Medications that are good for adults or older children can be dangerous for babies or small children

    There are no specific medications that can cure a child’s cough or cold. This is self limiting condtion unless it is complicated with secondary infection or continuous presence of risk factors. The cough and cold mixtures available over the counter contains combination of drugs which can cause drowsiness, dry mouth and irritability. There are no proven beneficial medical reports of these drugs.

    Keeping your child's nose clear

    • Loosen thick nasal drainage using a few drops of saline nose drops (salt water). To make saline nose drops:
      Fill an 8 ounce cup with warm (not hot) tap water. Add 1/4 level teaspoon of salt. Stir to dissolve the salt. Keep the solution in a clean, covered jar. Discard the solution after one week.
    • Put Vaseline on your child's upper lip if skin is red and chapped.

    Making your child comfortable

    If your child is irritable or has a headache

    • Make sure he/she gets plenty of rest.
    • Keep him/her as quiet as possible. Offer him/her quiet activities such as reading, colouring or games. Try to keep him/her inside the room as much as possible.
    • You may use paracetamol if your child has fever or headache. Consult a health worker for the dose.

    If your child has a sore throat

    • Every hour while your child is awake, offer him/her cool, clear liquids. Liquids such as warm water, honey and water, ginger and water, soft drinks and juices are appropriate depending on your child's age. These liquids soothes the t
    • Do not smoke in the same room with your child, do not take you child in the kitchen, keep the room warm.

    If your child does not want to eat

    It is physiological in children to loose appetite during fever, cough and cold. They might choose variety of foods. There are no proven reports that restricting diet will shorten the duration of the disease or improve it. More over, restriction of food might cause loss of weight and dehydration. You can give food like: dal/bhat, haluwa, meat, egg, milk, orange, banana, cold drinks and even ice cream.
    • Offer small meals frequently.
    • Make sure he/she gets plenty of clear liquids as listed above.
    • Take his/her temperature with a thermometer.

    Unless your child has convulsion in the past, temperature bellow 100 °F is protective and will help to kill the organism therefore do not over clothed the child and do not give medicines to reduce the fever. If your child has a fever greater than 101°F (38.3°C) rectally, or 100°F (37.7°C) by mouth.
  • Remove clothing and blankets to let him/her cool off.
  • Offer liquids.
  • Use fever medicine Paracetamol.
  • You may give your child a sponge bath in lukewarm water. Do not use cold water. Children never like sponging during fever. There are no enough evidences that sponging is beneficial in children. If your child begins to shiver, take him/her
    out of the water and dry him/her off.

    Consult your doctor if your child:

    • Has a fever lasting more than 3 days.
    • Complains of ear pain.
    • Drains greenish mucus from his/her nose or eyes.
    • Refuses to drink fluids.
    • Has trouble swallowing.
    • Has non-stop vomiting.
    • Has a runny nose lasting more than 10 days.
    • Has convulsion