When a child passes watery stools for 3 or more number of times in a day and is accompanied by vomiting, then it becomes a matter of concern for the parents. Vomiting along with diarrhea, is not a serious issue if it lasts for one or two days. However, if it continues beyond that, then there is a chance of dehydration, which can be life-threatening. Basically, vomiting or diarrhea is not a disease in itself. Both of them are symptoms of a number of illnesses that can affect young children. It occurs when the body tries to eliminate some unwanted stuff.
The most common cause behind these health problems, is an infection in the gastrointestinal tract, which gets triggered by a virus. This is also known as gastroenteritis or stomach flu. The virus is highly infectious in nature and it spreads easily from an infected person to others through direct or indirect contact. Other symptoms of this viral infection are abdominal cramps, swollen abdomen, fever, headache, and loss of appetite.
When the bacteria enter the gastrointestinal tract due to consumption of contaminated food or water and cause food poisoning, even then the aforementioned symptoms are observed. Eating uncooked fish or meat, or overconsumption of foods can be responsible for such type of stomach problems. Food allergies and food intolerance often cause diarrhea and vomiting, but without fever.
When your child is suffering from vomiting as well as diarrhea, you must take some quick simple measures at home. Firstly, do not give the child any solid food to eat for 3-4 hours. This will offer the much-needed rest to the stomach. Confine the child in a room and let him/her take rest. Use a disinfectant in the bathroom after the child uses the toilet. Thus you can prevent spread of the germs to other members of the family.
The most vital step is to replenish the lost fluids and keep the body hydrated. Oral rehydration solution or ORS is highly beneficial for treating stomach problems in children. It can be safely given to babies and even breastfeeding infants. You can get it from local drug stores and grocery stores.
Mix the powder in the recommended amount of water and let your child take it in small sips at frequent intervals. It contains right amount of sugar, salt, potassium, and other valuable nutrients, which are essential to keep the child nourished and hydrated. If you don't have ORS solution, you can mix 8 teaspoons of sugar and one teaspoon of salt in 4 cups of water and give it to the child as an alternative.
When there is excessive diarrhea, then you must be extra careful and check out for signs of dehydration. Excessive thirst, dry mouth, low or no urine output, no tears while crying, etc., are some of the key symptoms of dehydration in children. In such cases, the child should be hospitalized and intravenous fluids should be administered for rehydration. Usually, young children do not require any medicines to stop diarrhea. However, chronic vomiting with diarrhea may require medical intervention in order to relieve the child from the condition.
As both the conditions subside, you can increase the quantity of fluid in the child's diet. Now, you can give other clear fluids like plain water, clear soup, apple juice, etc. Furthermore, bland foods are recommended for the next few days. It includes rice, applesauce, and toast. No fatty foods or dairy products for some days, as they tend to irritate the stomach and induce diarrhea and vomiting all over again.
Weakness is the worst part of these health conditions and it may take a considerable amount of time for the child to recover completely. So, his/her body must get sufficient rest in order to recover from it. It should be followed by a nutrient rich diet that can improve the digestive health and prevent recurrence of both the unwanted illnesses.