May also be called: Puking; Throwing Up; Emesis
Vomiting itself is rarely harmful, though it is upsetting. In most cases, vomiting goes away on its own with proper home care.
Vomiting can have many causes. Most cases are due to viral gastroenteritis, often called the "stomach flu," and can be accompanied by fever, nausea, and diarrhea.
Vomiting can be a symptom of a virus or bacteria infecting the gastrointestinal tract, like rotavirus, norovirus, salmonellosis, shigellosis, E. coli, and a number of others. The term "food poisoning" usually refers to the vomiting and diarrhea caused by bacteria that have contaminated food or drink.
In most cases of vomiting due to gastroenteritis, no food and no liquids by mouth for a short time, followed by clear liquids, will be treatment enough. Ask your doctor about suitable liquids. After 8 hours with no vomiting, slowly introduce bland and mild foods, such as toast, crackers, rice, and mashed potatoes. It's best for someone with vomiting to avoid being around others until 24 hours after all symptoms end. In some cases, vomiting can cause dehydration, which requires prompt medical treatment.
Vomiting that lasts for more than a few hours or keeps happening might be due to other, sometimes serious, causes. This requires medical evaluation to discover and treat the underlying cause.
Washing hands well and often is the best way to help prevent spreading contagious infections affecting the stomach and intestines. Everyone in your family should wash their hands after using the bathroom and before eating.
All A to Z dictionary entries are regularly reviewed by KidsHealth medical experts.
|Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) The CDC (the national public health institute of the United States) promotes health and quality of life by preventing and controlling disease, injury, and disability.|
|American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) The AAP is committed to the health and well-being of infants, adolescents, and young adults. The website offers news articles and tips on health for families.|
|American Academy of Family Physicians This site, operated by the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), provides information on family physicians and health care, a directory of family physicians, and resources on health conditions.|
|CDC: Travelers' Health Look up vaccination requirements for travel destinations, get updates on international outbreaks, and more, searachable by country.|
|U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) The USDA works to enhance the quality of life for people by supporting the production of agriculture.|
|"Stomach Flu" Having the "stomach flu" usually means spending a lot of time in the bathroom. Find out more in this article for kids.|
|Food Poisoning The germs that get into food and cause food poisoning are tiny, but can have a powerful effect on the body. Find out what to do if you get food poisoning - and how to prevent it.|
|Why Should I Care About Germs? Germs are tiny organisms that can cause disease - and they're so small that they can creep into your system without you noticing. Find out how to protect yourself.|
|Food Poisoning Did you ever eat something that made you feel ooky? It might have been food poisoning.|
|Food Safety Learn why food safety is important and how you can avoid the spread of bacteria when you are buying, preparing, and storing food.|
|Produce Precautions Kids need daily servings of fruits and vegetables. Here's how to make sure the produce you buy and prepare is safe.|
|E. Coli E. coli is a common type of bacteria that can make you pretty sick. Read more in this article for kids.|
|Food Poisoning Sometimes, germs can get into food and cause food poisoning. Find out what to do if your child gets food poisoning - and how to prevent it.|
|Dehydration Your body is about two thirds water. When the water level dips below that level, you could be dehydrated. Read about what causes dehydration, what it does to your body, and how to prevent it.|
|Dehydration Sometimes kids lose fluids and salts through fever, diarrhea, vomiting, or long periods of exercise with excessive sweating. Here are some tips on preventing or treating dehydration.|
|Shigellosis Shigellosis is an intestinal infection caused by bacteria that can give a person bloody diarrhea and cause intestinal pain. Good hand washing is the best way to prevent shigellosis.|
|Salmonellosis Salmonellosis is an illness caused by a bacteria found in raw food, soil, water and the bowel movements of some animals, including reptiles. Find out how to prevent this illness.|
|First Aid: Vomiting Vomiting can be caused by many things, most commonly gastroenteritis (the "stomach flu"). Here's what to do when your child throws up.|
|Food Safety for Your Family Why is food safety important? And how can you be sure your kitchen and the foods you prepare in it are safe?|
|E. Coli Undercooked burgers and unwashed produce are among the foods that can harbor E. coli bacteria and lead to infection and severe diarrhea. Here's how to protect yourself.|
|What's Puke? Did you ever toss your cookies? That means throw up, or puke. It's gross, but just about everyone has done it. Find out more in this article for kids.|
|Vomiting Most vomiting is caused by gastroenteritis, and usually isn't serious. These home-care tips can help prevent dehydration.|
|Pyloric Stenosis Pyloric stenosis is a condition that can cause your baby to vomit forcefully and often and may cause other problems such as dehydration and salt and fluid imbalances.|
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