In this post, we’ll talk about fever & vomiting in children — babies, infants toddlers, 3-year-olds and more. When to worry if it’s meningitis and what to even do with adults?
Fever & Vomiting in Child
You hold your baby close, the fever is high. They’re miserable, you’re miserable for them. Their hot little head next to yours, beaded with sweat. You wonder how the night will go — when the unthinkable happens. They puke all over you. Fever & vomiting is one of my least favorite pairs as a parent, but they often go together like Abbott and Costello. Just not near as funny. How can you keep their temperature down if they can’t get medicine? Let’s find out.
Fever in Babies & Infants
Fever is usually defined as anything above 100.4 — yes, your baby might run 98.7 like all the books say, but normal fluctuations including outside temperature, # of layers you have them in, as well as where they are in their circadian rhythms can make it go up and down throughout the day.
Babies under 2 months of age should not have a fever. If they do, you need to take them to the pediatrician. Call to make an appointment now. They just don’t have the germ-fighting ability that an older child will have.
From 2 to six months of age, you need to be really thoughtful about fevers. If they’re too high or concerning, a trip to the pediatrician is never a bad option. Check with your doctor about what medications you can give your baby, and at what point you should call them.
How to check for fever in children
The easiest way to take a temperature of a baby or child is an axillary thermometer. It’s less invasive and easiest to get. However, the gold standard for a temperature is a rectal temperature. However, if you do plan to take a rectal temp — make sure that you have a thermometer meant for that. It should have safeguards so that you don’t go too deep. Really big problems can happen if you take a rectal temperature incorrectly, so be sure to follow the packaging instructions.
Pro tip: I just use axillary, and that’s what we use in the hospital.
How to reduce a fever in babies & children
Fever is usually helped by a couple of things:
Medicine for fever and vomiting
Fever is usually reduced in a number of ways, but the #1 way to reduce it for children is acetaminophen or ibuprofen (ibuprofen is not for small babies).
You can find it easily as a liquid (and you likely take it as a tablet when you have a headache, they also have chewables).
But, the main problem with babies is that they often won’t eat at the same time they don’t feel well. So, not only do you have a miserable child, but you also don’t know how to get anything in them to help them feel better.
Acetaminophen has been used for years in the treatment of fever, aches, and pains in kids. Ask your pediatrician about it on your next visit if you have further questions.
Pro Tip: Recent literature shows that allowing a fever to rage may have some positive effects towards fighting off the illness, so don’t feel like you have to give tylenol. I would just see how they’re doing and talk to your doctor if you have questions.
Fever & Vomiting
What can you do if your child refuses the liquid medication or if they’re vomiting, so it won’t stay down anyway?
For us, we’ve always ued FeverAll. FeverAll is acetaminophen but in a suppository form. For those who’ve never had one, — a suppository goes in your rectum and is quickly absorbed that way.
Pro Tip: We (nurses) actually give a fair # of drugs in suppository form in the hospital. When people are sick, it’s often the best way to get medication in them. Even if the thought makes you cringe.
Putting in a suppository is easy and your baby won’t cringe like you do since you’re always wiping their cute bums. 🙂 Just follow the instructions in the package.
With Feverall you don’t have to be worried if your child “got it all” (hard to know if they through up within the hour that they get the medication).
We always keep FeverAll on hand for our kids. I have even used it on my daughter (who is 9) because she will get migraines and throw-up — the only way to get anything for the headache in her is a suppository.
Fever and vomiting in a baby/infant
Unless your child feels miserable, some of the most recent research shows that allowing the fever to continue (vs giving medication) can be helpful.
However, babies & infants can get VERY high fevers which can make them miserable and you quite uncomfortable as well. You want to make sure that a dose of tylenol is bringing it down — I have tons more info on this in my children’s fever’s post.
I would follow the protocol in my stomach flu post to only giving clear liquids after an hour. Trying to hydrate them, but not over-hydrating them to where they vomit again is a fine balance you’ll have to watch.
Alarm tip: If your child is under 2 months with a fever, you need to call your doctor.
Fever and vomiting 3-year-olds & toddlers
It’s very similar to how you deal with a baby/infant, except that at this point they can hopefully give you some indication of how they feel.
They may also beg for water after they throw up. DO NOT GIVE IN. Nothing by mouth for the first hour after they vomit. If they’re misrable with the taste they could swish, but encourage them to spit it out. Their stomach needs time to rest.
If they’re just miserable, you could try regular liquid tylenol (after the hour), that small of an amount shouldn’t do anything, but you can also try thta FeverAll suppository as well.
Fever and vomiting blood
If you vomit frequently, you could see small streaks of blood in your vomit. As long as it’s a small amount and bright red, I’d just keep an eye on it — but if it changes to looking more like coffee grounds or is a larger amount of bright red blood, you should call your doctor or head to insta care/ER.
Vomiting in children
If you’re looking for more info on Vomiting in children I have a very specific diet that I follow so that my kids get over it quite quickly. Parents can do a lot to make this worse — so, follow this stomach flu diet and your little one should feel better soon.
How to stop vomiting in children
The best way to stop it is to allow the stomach to rest.
It is important that kids expel the virus/cause of whatever is making them throw up. I don’t recommend anything for heir nausea as there is a reason our bodies make us vomit — and that’s to get-out whatever is bad in it.
Following the tips in my stomach flu post will help a lot.
Vomiting can happen for a few reasons
- Viruses (like the stomach flu
- Food poisoning
- Kids often get so much mucus in their tummies with a cold/flu that they will vomit to get it out
- Other more worri-some things but those are the most common above.
High fever and vomiting in adults
The most important thing is to rehydrate yourself as soon as possible. I follow my stomach flu diet as well, and it helps. Hydration will help fevers, as will tylenol. I don’t recommen ibuprofen too much when vomiting is happening.
Nausea and headache
It isn’t unusual to have nausea with a headache. I usually treat that with tylenol and rest as possible.
Could it be Meningitis?
The #1 symptom in meningitis is neck pain. If your child is having severe neck pain with these other symptoms, you’d want to see a health care provider.
If you liked that post –be sure to grab my stomach flu tips — and check out my other family health tips below that!