There are many reasons for a child to throw up with no fever.
Kids bring special joy to our lives! Nothing compares to your bundle of joy looking hale, hearty, and happy. However, if your child is sick and throwing up, it can shove even the most experienced parents into a full-blown panic. Sometimes, kids heave till they are exhausted, leaving parents helpless and anxious. Learn about why your child may be vomiting and how to help them recover.
Although vomiting is no fun, it does have a purpose. It’s your body’s way of getting rid of something harmful in the digestive system. But vomiting is not a condition on its own; it’s usually a symptom of another, underlying condition.
What causes vomiting with no fever in a child?
Causes of vomiting with no fever
- Foreign body ingestion: One of the most common issues in kids is foreign body ingestion. A child may swallow a Lego piece, coin, large chunk of fruit, cookie, or fishbone, and it may get stuck in the throat, causing vomiting. If it is a food item, give your child sips of water and ask them to look up (the position opens up the throat). If it does not help or your child appears to be choking, call 911.
- Viral gastroenteritis: Stomach flu due to rotavirus, Norwalk virus, and enterovirus may cause extreme vomiting episodes with or without fever. Keep your child hydrated and monitor their urine output. Viral hepatitis is another cause of vomiting in children. In case of an outbreak, contact your nearest health department.
- Food poisoning: Bacteria such as E. coli, Salmonella, Shigella, and staph can secrete toxins if present in stale or undercooked food. This is more common where poor food-handling techniques are not practiced. Symptoms and signs of food poisoning may be vomiting and blood-tinged diarrhea with or without fever. It is better to see a doctor in this case.
- Head injury: A child who has banged his or her head or has had a nasty fall may complain of headache and increased sleepiness. Vomiting may also occur. These are serious symptoms and signs, and you need to urgently take them to a doctor.
- Gastritis: Gastritis due to spicy foods (red chilies), viral infections, and antibiotics can often cause episodes of vomiting. Make sure your child is hydrated and give your child vanilla ice cream or popsicles to suck on. Liquid antacids meant for kids will help too.
- Acid reflux: Some kids may suffer from acid reflux, especially at night. Having an early dinner and avoiding spicy and curried food at night may help.
- Food allergies: If your kid is allergic to certain proteins in fish, legumes, nuts, eggs, or dairy, there may be nausea, bloating, and vomiting when your child consumes these. There may be a rash, stomach cramps, and facial swelling. Keep a food diary to note what incites episodes in your child. Try to avoid those foods. Consulting a doctor is prudent, especially if your child is dehydrated, has shortness of breath, or facial swelling.
- Medication side effects: Your child may have side effects from painkillers (ibuprofen), antibiotics, iron supplements, and chemotherapy drugs that cause vomiting.
- Motion sickness and air sickness: It is another common issue in kids. Children may throw up while traveling. Home remedies such as ginger ale, orange candy, or prescription meds administered before traveling may help in these cases.
- Ear infections: A lot of kids vomit when they have ear infections. Vomiting may be a systemic reaction to the germ that is causing the ear to throb. Visit your child's doctor for proper management of ear infections.
- Upper respiratory tract infections: Phlegm, tickled throat due to nasal secretions, and headache due to stuffed sinuses can induce nausea and vomiting. Humidify the room and rub some VapoRub on your child's chest (not inside the nose). Paracetamol and plenty of water and rest will help. Consult your doctor for proper management of the infection.
- Intestinal blockages: Serious developmental or birth anomalies result in intestinal obstruction in newborns. Volvulus (twisting of the gut upon itself), pyloric stenosis (congenital narrowing of the stomach), obstructive bands in the stomach at birth, and toxic megacolon can all cause continuous vomiting in a child. This needs urgent medical intervention.
General causes of vomiting in children
Some common causes of vomiting in babies and children include:
General causes of vomiting in adults
Some common causes of vomiting in adults include:
- Food poisoning
- Bacterial or viral infections (stomach bug or stomach flu)
- Acid reflux disease
- Gallbladder infection/gallbladder stones
- Motion sickness
- Inner ear disorders
- Medications (antibiotics, painkillers, chemotherapy, anesthesia)
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- Recreational drugs
- Severe pain
- Crohn’s disease
- Head injury
- Infection or inflammation of the brain tissue
- Brain tumors
- Increased intracranial pressure
- Bowel obstruction
- Esophageal disorders
- Lactose intolerance
- Exposure to toxins, succumb as lead toxicity
- Vomiting during pregnancy
- Noxious sight or smells
When to Call the Doctor for a Vomiting Child
Call your pediatrician immediately if you observe the following symptoms in children:
- Vomit more than once and are under 12 weeks
- Severe vomiting
- Signs of dehydration such as:
- High fever
- Stiff neck
- Stomach pains
- Act confused
- Dry diapers
- Not passing urine
- Blood or bile in the vomit
- Hard to wake up
- Vomiting for more than 8 hours
How can I help my child recover from vomiting?
Learn what to do after throwing up and how to help your child avoid dehydration
In many cases, simple home remedies can help your child recover from vomiting within a few days. If your child's symptoms don’t get better even after a few days, you should seek medical attention.
- Rest: Avoid feeding your child food or drinks for around 30-60 minutes after the vomiting episode.
- Replacing fluids: Dehydration is the main danger when your child is vomiting. You can give your child very small amounts (1/2 oz or less) of fluids every 5-10 minutes. Do not force-feed your child. Let them take small sips of clear water, Gatorade, ginger ale, oral rehydration solution (ORS), or clear soup. Breast milk may be given if your child is breastfeeding. Ice chips or frozen popsicles may help, as well.
- Solid food: If your child is hungry and asking for food, try giving small amounts of bland food. This includes crackers, dry cereal, rice, or noodles. Avoid giving your child greasy, fatty, or spicy foods for a few days as your child recovers. Probiotics such as buttermilk or yogurt may help.
- OTC medications: In consultation with your pediatrician, you may be able to give your child OTC anti-vomiting medications or antiemetics.
If symptoms do not resolve, your pediatrician may also recommend the following:
- Antibiotics: These can only help treat vomiting that is caused by bacteria or parasites. Some antibiotics can cause increased vomiting due to gastritis. Antibiotics should always be taken under a doctor’s supervision.
- Fluid replacement: First, your doctor may advise replacing lost fluids and salts by drinking an oral rehydration solution containing salt, electrolytes, and vitamins. If your child is unable to hold down liquids and symptoms don’t improve, intravenous (IV) fluids to treat dehydration may be recommended.
- Antiemetic or anti-vomiting medications: Antiemetics may be prescribed if needed.
Newborn babies don't sleep very much.
What are signs and symptoms of dehydration?
It is important to identify the signs of dehydration so you can take appropriate measures before it gets worse. Dehydration can be especially serious in babies and children.
Of course, thirst is always a reliable indicator of dehydration. However, many people don’t feel thirsty until they’re already dehydrated. So the best way to prevent dehydration is to increase fluid intake as soon as you can.
Signs and symptoms in infants and children are as follows:
- Dry mouth and tongue
- No tears when crying
- Decreased urination or dry diapers
- Sunken eyes and cheeks
- Excessive crying
- Skin retracts back slowly when pinched
Signs and symptoms in adults are as follows:
- Extreme thirst
- Dryness of the mouth and tongue
- Dry eyes
- Decreased urination
- Deep yellow colored urine
- Skin retracts back slowly when pinched
When to seek medical attention for vomiting
Vomiting may not always be a sign of something serious. However, you should seek immediate medical attention if the following symptoms are present as well, as they may indicate a life-threatening condition:
Medically Reviewed on 5/4/2022
"What to Do When Your Child Is Vomiting." Fairview.org. <https://www.fairview.org/patient-education/89539>