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Just as with diarrhoea this is your body's way of eliminating harmful substances and toxins and children are much more prone to it than adults. Vomiting can be caused by eating too much food, food intolerances or allergies, food poisoning or an infection (stomach bug). Bacterial or viral infections which cause vomiting are often accompanied by a fever.

Newborn babies may be prone to vomiting if wind gets trapped which causes reflux. Infants who are being weaned may vomit if they have overeaten, or are not yet used to chewing and dealing with 'lumpy' food. However if at any age there is excessive and frequent vomiting this may be a sign of a problem with the digestive tract and professional help should be sought.

If a newborn baby is crying and vomiting after feeding you may be dealing with gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD), which is common in babies. It usually occurs if the valve at the top of the stomach is weak and is allowing the reflux of acid from the stomach back up the oesophagus causing pain and discomfort, as with heartburn. Mild reflux generally resolves itself as the valve becomes stronger, however moderate to severe reflux needs treatment because it can lead to broken sleep, food aversion and poor weight gain. It is important to get an accurate diagnosis at an early stage. You can call the Baby Care Advice Line for more information on 0800 032 6026. Homeopathy and Cranial Osteopathy have both shown excellent results with this condition.

DIETARY ADVICE:

- When vomiting does occur avoid solid food for one or two days. Instead sip plenty of fluids (filtered or bottled water, diluted fruit juice, herbal tea) to avoid dehydration and take nourishing homemade vegetable soups. Avoid milk, dairy products and protein foods until the vomiting has ceased and the digestion has calmed down.

- Take a rehydration drink to replace lost electrolytes (minerals) particularly if vomiting is accompanied by diarrhoea. These are available at chemists but in her book 'Boosting Your Child's Immune System' Lucy Burney explains how you can make your own:- mix 1 teaspoon of sea salt with 2 dessertspoons of sugar, 1 litre (2 pints) of water and 600ml (1 pint) of orange juice. Gently sip a glass of this mixture every hour after vomiting.

SUPPLEMENTS FOR HEALTHY DIGESTION:

NB. Children's dosages: unless otherwise stated children can take an age-appropriate dose of recommended supplements; for children over 17 give the recommended adult dose below; children from 12 to 17 give three-quarters of the adult dose; children from 6 to 12 years give half the adult dose; children from four to six years give one-quarter of the adult dose; children under 4 years use only products specifically for children as stated, or see a registered naturopath or nutritionist.

see Digestion and Digestion for Babies & Children

Probiotics - to help strengthen the digestion after vomiting, take a probiotic for four to six weeks - see Probiotics. For children see Probiotics for Babies & Children.

N.B All the probiotics available are formulated in a base of fructo-oligosaccharides (F.O.S) - the substrate on which healthy bacteria feed.

Herbs - at the first sign of nausea try taking ginger which is one of the best herbs for stomach problems. If vomiting then occurs slippery elm helps to soothe the digestive tract afterwards and can be taken in capsule form or liquid extract - see Herbs.

Children from the age of two can use 'Kiddy Tum' a gentle blend of herbs, including slippery elm, in a tincture to help provide support during gastric upset - see Herbs for Babies & Children.

NATURAL PHARMACY:

Herbal tea - peppermint and ginger tea are both very soothing for upset stomachs - see Herbal Tea.

Homeopathy - the most commonly used remedy is Arsenicum 30 c where vomiting has been brought on by food poisoning, for vomiting and diarrhoea together, which is accompanied by extreme restlessness, a thirst for frequent sips of cool drinks, and burning pains which are better for warmth. However use Lycopodium 30c if the cause is shellfish; Nux Vomica 30c for feelings of nausea brought on by the over-consumption of food or alcohol; Chamomilla 30c if pains are griping and cause you to double-up; Bryonia 30c if all the complaints are made worse for any motion, if there is dryness of the mouth with thirst for large amounts of water, and a desire to be left alone; Pulsatilla 30c if your vomiting occurs after eating fatty, rich foods and ice-cream of fruit, there is a lack of thirst and a desire for attention; Veratrum album 30c if there is vomiting and diarrhoea, a cold sweat and even water is brought back up after drinking; and Silica 30c if a baby brings up breast milk or projectile vomits - see Homeopathy. See the Homeopathic Kits for sets containing a range of different remedies.

Give one dose every half an hour to two hours depending on the severity of the symptoms, and once symptoms improve then give the remedy every three to four hours.

NB. It is important to touch the pills as little as possible, ideally tipping one into the lid and then directly into the mouth letting it dissolve under the tongue if possible and also to avoid eating and drinking at the same time as taking the remedy.

The stronger the symptoms the stronger the potency required, so if you are unsure, if any of these remedies are not working, or you feel you need a higher potency contact a professional homeopath - follow the Complementary Health link above.

RELEVANT LINKS:

Travelling

NB. This information is in no way intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. If you are unsure as to the suitability of any of the products or recommendations with regard to your condition please consult your doctor. If your doctor does not approve of complementary medicine it may be helpful to find one who does.

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