Vomiting / Diarrhea / Dehydration

Many things can cause vomiting and diarrhea from infants and children. This can be very serious and even be life threatening. Always consult your child’s doctor or go to the nearest emergency room for any concerns.

Some Signs/Symptoms of Dehydration

  • When child cries there are no tears
  • No wet diapers or very little urine in a 6-8 hour period
  • In infants the soft spot (also called the fontanel) is sunken in
  • Child or infant is not as alert or lethargic
  • Eyes are sunken
  • Inside of the mouth is dry and not moist
  • Skin is dry and cool
  • Muscle cramps
  • Thirst
  • Dark yellow urine
  • Dizziness or confusion
  • Dry, cool skin
  • Rapid heart beat
  • Breathing fast
  • Headache

Causes of Diarrhea and Vomiting

  • Virus
  • Parasite
  • Food Allergy
  • Bacterial infection
  • Medication
  • Food poison

Causes of Dehydration

  • Sweating too much
  • Not drinking enough
  • Diabetes Insipidus
  • Being outside and exercising in hot weather
  • Fever
  • Mouth sores
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Treatment for Dehydration

Your doctor may want to take a blood sample to test electrolytes to see how dehydrated your child is, and to check to see what your child’s blood sugar is to check for diabetes. A urine test may be to see if your child’s kidneys are functioning properly. The doctor will order IV fluids if your child is dehydrated enough to need them.

Treament for Diareah and Vomitting

If your child continues to vomit and or have diarrhea and shows, any signs and symptoms of dehydration take them to your child’s doctor immediately.

For mild cases of vomiting and diarrhea, you want to make sure that you are replacing the fluids that are lost from the vomiting and diarrhea. Start out with clear liquids (small sips). Some examples of clear liquids are pedialyte for infants, and Popsicle’s, Gatorade for toddlers and children. After they are tolerating the clear fluids without vomiting and having diarrhea then start bland foods such as toast, bananas, rice, potatoes, applesauce, and yogurt with a probiotic. Choose foods with potassium. Then when your child is tolerating bland foods you may resume a regular diet.

Using over the counter medications is not necessary but some find relief with taking them. Never give any medication without asking your child’s doctor.


  • Drink plenty of fluids while excising. Drink more when it is hot outside
  • Do not drink after anyone else that is sick.
  • Clean toys after a sick child have used them.
  • Sterilize bottles before use.
  • Always make sure your child is drinking enough fluids during the day.
  • Stay away from anyone who has been sick with a virus.
  • Pay close attention to your child.
  • Sanitize house after someone has been sick.

Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)

Some Signs/Symptoms of a Urinary Tract Infection / UTI

  • Fever
  • Nausea, vomiting
  • Strong, bad smelling urine
  • Stomach pain
  • Back pain
  • Having trouble peeing or urinating
  • Pain while peeing or urinating
  • Blood in urine
  • Cloudy urine
  • Fussy baby with fever and no other symptoms such as cough or cold
  • Feeling like they have to pee or urinate all of the time
  • Discharge coming from penis or vaginal area


  • Uncircumcised boy
  • Having a problem at birth where the some of the urine is backing up in the kidneys
  • Young girls who are potty training and not wiping from front to back and it will allow bacteria to enter the urinary tract.
  • Constipation
  • Problems in the urinary tract


Your child’s doctor will do a test called a urinalysis and a urine culture to diagnose this. This will require your child to pee in a cup or they may perform a cauterization to collect the urine. In some cases they may do other testing if your child is having frequent UTI’s or they feel it is necessary to do so.


Antibiotics are given to fight the infection. Always make sure your child takes all of the medication exactly how it is ordered by your child’s doctor.


  • Make sure that your child is completely empting his or her bladder when they urinate.
  • Encourage your child not to hold his or her urine in for long periods of time.
  • Wipe from front to back so that stool does not get into the urinary tract.
  • Drink plenty of fluids.

Always consult your child’s doctor for any concerns or questions about urinary tract infections.

Strep Throat

Bacteria called A Streptococcus cause strep throat. It can be found in the nose and throat and is very contagious. If you feel like your child may have this illness you need to take your child his/her doctor immediately.

Some Signs/Symptoms of Strep Throat

  • Headache
  • Vomiting or belly pain
  • Fever
  • Not wanting to play, tired
  • Rash
  • Red small spots on the back of the throat or roof of the mouth
  • Sore throat
  • Hard time swallowing
  • White patches or pus in the back of the throat
  • Swollen glands in your neck
  • Neck pain
  • Drooling

Important Things to Know

  • This can only be treated with antibiotics
  • Make sure your child finished all the antibiotics
  • Throw away the toothbrush after your child has been on the antibiotics for 24 hours and replace it with a new one
  • Keep people away from your child while he or she is sick
  • Strep Throat is very serious. Without treatment your child can develop throat swelling which can cause difficulty breathing or swallowing. If the infection is not treated, your child can also develop heart problems, and or kidney inflammation.

Seek medical attention immediately if your child develops any of these symptoms.

Peanut Allergies

Peanut allergies are a type of food allergy and are different from nut allergies. When a child has a peanut allergy parents need to be careful and alert to make sure their child’s diet is void of peanuts, or products containing peanut oils. If a child has a peanut allergy and eats a food, or drinks a liquid containing peanuts or peanut oil, a severe, anaphylactic possibly life threatening reaction can occur. The child should receive emergency treatment immediately.


  • Exact causes are not known
  • Statistics show that approximately 1 in 50 children have a peanut allergy


  • Unintentional ingestion of peanuts or peanut oil
  • Intentional ingestion of peanuts or peanut oil
  • Inhalation of peanuts of peanut oil


  • Age
  • Allergies to other foods
  • Past peanut allergies
  • Family members with a peanut allergy
  • Eczema


  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Eczema
  • Hives
  • Itching
  • Nausea
  • Rash
  • Runny nose
  • Vomiting


  • Anaphylaxis
  • Constriction of airways
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Dizziness
  • Drop in blood pressure
  • Fast heart rate
  • Lightheaded
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Throat swelling



  • Over the counter antihistamines
  • Prescription antihistamines
  • Emergency epinephrine injection
  • Go to the nearest ER
  • Call 911


When a child has a fever it can be from a number of things. A virus, an infection, the child being bundled up too tightly, or even cutting teeth can be the cause. A virus does not usually require antibiotics but an infection will almost always need an antibiotic to treat whatever bug the child has. If your child is less than 2 months old and has a fever, contact your child’s doctor immediately or take them to the emergency room. Children under the age of 3 months should not have Tylenol unless a doctor has instructed you to do so. Children Under The Age Of 6 Months Should Not Take Motrin (Ibuprofen) Unless Instructed To Do So By Your Child’s Doctor. If you have a child who is more than 6 months old and is running a high fever that does not go away, you may alternate Children’s Motrin (Ibuprofen) and Children’s Tylenol (acetaminophen) every 3 hours. For example- you can give the Children’s Motrin at 12:00 PM, followed by the Children’s Tylenol at 3:00 PM. At 6:00 PM give the Motrin again. The next dose of Tylenol may be given at 9:00 PM. Always make sure that you read the label to avoid giving the wrong dose. Some of these medications have doses measured in drops, cubic centimeters (cc), or milliliters (mL). What is the difference between cc’s and mL’s? Nothing, they are the same thing. See instructional video for how to give the right dose and drawing up medication for your child.


Some Signs/Symptoms of Fever in Infants

  • Not wanting to eat
  • Not wanting to sleep
  • Lethargic
  • Crying

Some Signs/Symptoms of Fever in Children

  • Sweating and shivering
  • Body aches
  • Not wanting to eat
  • Weakness
  • Confusion

Ear Infections

Infants and children are likely to get ear infections more than adults because they have shorter Eustachian tubes.

Some Signs/Symptoms of Ear Infections

  • Pulling on the ears
  • Constant crying
  • Fluid coming out of the ear
  • Fever
  • Not being able to sleep

Common Causes of Ear Infections

  • Bottle propping
  • Respiratory infections
  • Colds
  • Viruses
  • Swimming in a pool (can cause water to get trapped in the ear)
  • Allergies
  • Smoking around your child

Risk Factors

  • Attending daycare
  • Changing climates
  • Cold weather
  • Having a recent ear infection


Usually your doctor will prescribe antibiotics although some ear infections will clear up on their own. Ear infections hurt. Here are some things you can do to help with the pain.

  • Use an over the counter ear drops for pain
  • Apply a warm cloth to the ear that is hurting
  • Over the counter pain medication such as Ibuprofen and Acetaminophen
  • Ask your doctor to prescribe prescription eardrops

Always consult your child’s doctor for any questions or concerns.


While the average person’s bowel movements may range in frequency from 3 times per day to 1-2 times per week a person is usually considered constipated if they experience at least 2 of the following symptoms:

  • Straining during a bowel movement at least once out of four trips to the potty
  • One in every four stools is hard
  • Unable to finish going to the bathroom in one sitting
  • Two or less bowel movements in a week

Causes of Constipation

Constipation can be caused by either a structural abnormality or a problem with the way the bowel functions.

Some of the most common cause includes:

  • Changes to the person’s diet
  • Excessive amounts of dairy products
  • Too little water
  • Too little fiber in the diet
  • Narcotics
  • Decreased mobility
  • Delaying a bowel movement
  • Stress
  • Laxative/stool softener over use
  • Antacids
  • Depression
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Pregnancy
  • Cancers of the colon
  • Hormonal imbalance


Pain and difficulty passing stool are often the most common symptoms. The child may also have a swollen, distended or firm abdomen. If the constipation remains untreated it can lead to vomiting.

What to do if you suspect your child may be constipated?:

All parents/caregivers suspecting their child may be constipated should seek the advice of a trained professional. Treatment will vary depending on the degree of constipation.


Most cases of constipation do not require extensive testing and are well managed by a primary care physician but should your child require further testing to determine the cause of the constipation you can often expect you physician to order:

  • Blood tests (especially if a hormonal balance is suspected)
  • Radiographic studies involving contrasts such as barium
  • Colonoscopy: a procedure where the physician uses a flexible tube with a camera to visualize the colon (large intestines) from the inside.

Managing Constipation

Most cases of constipation are easily managed with conservative treatment recommended by your child’s physician but general tips to follow include:

  • Ensuring your child receives adequate water/hydration
  • Increasing exercise
  • Maintaining a diet high in fiber

It is important to discuss the use of supplements, stool softeners and laxatives with your doctor before starting them. While they may provide an easy over the counter solution, it is important to remember that they are still medications and can interfere with other medications your child is taking.

Fiber is found in fruits, vegetables, nuts and grains. It is the bulk that is not digested and as a result, passes through quicker and carries other things along.

Cold Sore / Fever Blisters

A cold sore is a blister, reddish or blue in color, on or around the lip. They may be fluid filled at first but often burst and leave behind a crusty scab. Although they are called “cold sore” and” fever blister” it is important to know that you don’t actually have to have a cold or fever to develop one. They often start out as an itching or tingling beneath the skin.

Cold Sore/Fever Blister, What Is It?

These sores are caused by the herpes virus. You may be wondering, “But isn’t herpes a sexually transmitted disease? How did my child end up with it?” There are two common types of herpes infection known as herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1) and herpes simplex virus 2 (HSV-2) and both can actually be spread by something as simple as a kiss or sharing a glass/eating utensil. HSV-1 is the type most commonly associated with cold sores but HSV-2 is also capable of causing sores.

It is important to note that as this is a virus. As such, once a person is infected, the disease lays in wait (dormant) in their system for the rest of their life. Most people may become infected and never show any symptoms. One reason they may be referred to as “cold sores” is that they often wait until the body is weakened by another disease or under stress to make another appearance.


As mentioned above, a cold sore may initially start out as an itching or tingling specific to one area of the face. Within 1-2 days you can expect to see a fluid filled blister (vesicle) that itches profusely and is often scratched which allows it to rupture and spread.

What to do if you suspect your child has a cold sore:

As always, it is important to seek out the guidance of a medical trained professional. Your pediatrician can help identify the sore and recommend an appropriate method of treatment.

Managing a Cold Sore

Good hand hygiene is of greatest importance to prevent your child from spreading the sores to other sensitive areas like the fingers/hands or even the child’s eyes. Washing hands thoroughly combined with preventing the child from picking or scratching the wound is your best defense. Furthermore these sores are moist, warm openings in the skin and the perfect opportunity for infectious bacteria to set in. It is amazing that something as simple washing your hands can help prevent all of the above and now that you know, be sure to apply this knowledge.

Most cold sores resolve on their own, however, anti-viral medications are now available by prescription or over the counter to treat cold sores. Again, it is recommended that you follow up with your pediatrician for guidance on what treatment is appropriate for your child. As always, appropriate rest, diet and exercise are key components in the healing process.