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Why Projectile Vomiting in Infants Can Be Dangerous

It is considered normal for infants to occasionally throw up or vomit after feeding them. It might be very inconvenient for some parents because of all the cleaning involved, but it should not be a cause for alarm. But in other cases, vomiting is worrisome especially when it involves the expulsion of digested food in a projectile force. Most of the time, projectile vomiting can be very dangerous for it represents a serious medical problem that every parent should not ignore. Therefore, it is important for every parent to know everything they need to about projectile vomiting, and the possible danger it represents for their baby.

Projectile Vomiting

Projectile vomiting in infants is the expulsion of vomit with force. When infants vomit with a projectile force, the food is expelled forming an arc-like shape, and the vomit is more than the usual. It is considered normal when this happens occasionally, but when projectile vomiting is frequent, and is paired with other symptoms like choking, coughing, loss of weight, the presence of blood or bile in the vomit, and when the baby seems like he is in pain, immediate medical attention should be administered. Below are some of the known causes of projectile vomiting in infants, as well as the conditions associated with it:

  1. Acid Reflux – defined as a disorder wherein the child’s gastrointestinal tract is not functioning properly. Infants who are under 3 months of age are more likely to have acid reflux, wherein the acid and the food taken by infants go all the way back to their esophageal tube.
  2. Lactose intolerance – this is a condition where an infant’s digestive system does not have the ability to properly digest milk and dairy products or when the infant is allergic to milk.
  3. Stomach flu – also known as gastroenteritis, it is an infection in the intestine which can be obtained due to viruses.
  4. Pyloric stenosis – is a condition characterized by the thickening of the infant’s pylorus muscle which can be found near the opening of the small intestine. In this condition, the food ingested by the child is blocked from entering the small intestine which results to projectile vomiting just after intake of food.

What are the Dangers of Projectile Vomiting in Infants?

Aside from the possibility of your child having a serious illness, when they are vomiting in a projectile manner frequently, it could cause a lot of health problems. Some of the known effects of frequent projectile vomiting in infants include weight loss, abnormal growth rate, possible injuries that can be sustained by the stomach and the esophagus, high fever, dehydration, and in some cases, pneumonia.

What to do when Infants Vomit with Projectile Force

When an infant vomits with force, and it happens frequently, he should be immediately taken to the pediatrician so that proper diagnosis can be made. However, if the doctor sees no serious illness is connected to projectile vomiting, there are some things that you can do to prevent it like:

  1. Elevating the baby’s head (approximately 30 degrees) on the bed after feeding.
  2. Discourage unnecessary and strong movements after feeding.
  3. Patting the back of the baby after feeding to induce burping – this minimizes gastric pressure which is a common cause for vomiting.
  4. The Infant should be on the proper position when he is fed.
  5. Feeding the baby in small amounts while increasing the frequency of food intake.

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Heartburn in Children

Although the majority of individuals afflicted by heartburn are adults, children are not immune from this widespread problem. Each year, many children are afflicted with various degrees of heartburn. As you know, heartburn is never a good thing, but, when it comes to children, it is even more careful to be as precautions as possible. Because children are still developing, problems such as heartburn can have serious long-term consequences on their health.

The biggest problem with children and heartburn is trying to get an accurate self-diagnosis from the child. Although an adult can convey their symptoms and feelings with ease, it is not nearly this easy when it comes to children. Unlike adults, children do not have a sophisticated method of communication. They are unable to easily explain to you what is going on within them. Therefore, it is vital that you try to obtain as many details as possible from your child. This way, you can rely the information to the doctor if it becomes necessary.

So when does heartburn in a child warrant a visit to the doctor? As with adults, there is no clear-cut answer. The answer can only be given on a case by case basis. However, you need to be more willing to take your child to the doctor than yourself. Because it is normally a mild problem, most adults do not consult a doctor about their heartburn unless it gets serious. This should not be the case with children though. If a mild case occurs once or twice, you do not need to do anything more than feed and watch the child. However, if a child begins to experience heartburn on a regular basis or has a serious case of this affliction, it is important that you take them to the doctor. Since their tissue is weak, they cannot physically stand up to some of the situations that adults are able to handle.

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