Ask Dr. Sears: Getting Through the Stomach Flu
Q. My 4-year-old has been vomiting on and off for a few days. What might be wrong with her and what should I do?
A. She's likely suffering from gastroenteritis, commonly called the stomach flu, which is a viral inflammation of the stomach and the intestines. When this happens, the stomach rejects food as a way of saying "Don't fill me up. I need rest." Your child's illness -- which is very contagious while she's still vomiting -- should steadily get better within a few days and last a week at most. In the meantime:
Call your doctor if you notice signs of dehydration, such as dry eyes, skin, or mouth; less frequent urination (half as often as usual); dark-yellow urine; and no tears when crying. If after a few days your child seems to be getting sicker -- with fever, more frequent diarrhea, or body aches and chills -- or if the vomit becomes green or bloody, she might have a more serious infection that warrants immediate medical attention.