How to tell if a child's stomach illness may be severe

Pediatrician Lawrence Kagan, MD, shares advice for parents on the symptoms that usually indicate that your child's stomach illness is sever and needs to be evaluated by a pediatrician
Signs Your Child's Stomach Illness May Be Severe
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How to tell if a child's stomach illness may be severe

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Vomiting is typically caused by an infectious etiology. So usually the stomach flu. We call it acute gastricitis. The problem with vomiting is my concerns for your child becoming dehydrated. So vomiting starts, diarrhea follows and if they are vomiting, how do you keep up with their fluid losses? It is hard to hydrate a child who throws up everything you give them. There are medications that we use in clinic, for example, Zofran, generic is Ondanzitron, that are very effective at eliminating the vomiting component of the illness so that we can maintain hydration and help a child to heal. When to become worried is if a child who is under a year has not urinated in eight hours, over a year has not urinated in 12 hours. Other signs of dehydration include dried, cracked lips, sunken eyes, lethargy. If they cry with no tears, that would be concerning as well. Other things to be concerned about are blood in the stool, blood in the vomit, or green vomit. Green stool is fine, but green vomit can be bile and that can be a sign of obstruction. If your child is complaining of abdominal pain, they need to be evaluated by their pediatrician because unfortunatley there are surgical emergencies that can occur including vobulis, obstruction, inceception, apendicitis. And these things cannot be ignored. If you have multiple family members that are all vomiting and everybody is getting sick together, it is probably an infectious etiology and it is really the maintenance of hydration that should be your priority.

Pediatrician Lawrence Kagan, MD, shares advice for parents on the symptoms that usually indicate that your child's stomach illness is sever and needs to be evaluated by a pediatrician

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Lawrence Kagan, MD

Pediatrician

Lawrence Kagan, MD, FAAP, is a UCLA honors graduate, with a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry. He received medical training at USC Keck School of Medicine, and completed his internship and residency in Pediatrics at Children's Hospital Los Angeles. In addition to passionately studying neonatal, general pediatric and adolescent medicine at CHLA, he had the opportunity to train under some of the greatest minds in subspecialty pediatrics, diagnosing and managing the rarest and most complicated childhood ailments. Prior to opening Westside Pediatrics, he worked as an attending physician at the CHLA Emergency Department as well as at Cedars Sinai Urgent Care. Dr. Kagan is a native of Los Angeles and is happily married with two children.

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