Pediatric Advice


Vomiting and diarrhea in a small infant requires close monitoring to avoid dehydration.


It is hard to get through childhood without at least one sickness with vomiting as a symptom. Most often it is caused by a self limiting stomach virus. Other causes in infants include: other infections, reflux, milk intolerance, food allergy, abdominal obstruction, and accidental ingestions. In older kids other infections, food poisoning, migraine headaches, strep throat are other possibilities. Clues that a virus is to blame include accompanying fever, diarrhea, stomachache/nausea, and known exposure. As with other childhood illnesses it is important to look at the bigger picture—how the child is acting, whether there are any signs of dehydration or any other more serious illness to help decide if the vomiting needs more medical attention, or whether home care is appropriate. A few episodes of isolated vomiting is not reason to panic!


Acute diarrhea is one of the most common childhood symptoms and although it can be very annoying it in itself is rarely serious, is self limited and is almost always caused by an infection. Diarrhea is loose, watery, frequent stools, typically lasting 3-5 days with most viruses. It often takes weeks for the stools to return completely to normal. As with vomiting the key is to avoid dehydration by giving enough liquids and then solid foods. If too much is given you may see more bowel movements, but this is better than giving too little and ending up with dehydration. Read more about childhood diarrhea.