My kid threw up on the bus — now what? AHN Pediatrics has the answer.

This article is provided by AHN Pediatrics.

Parenting is a balancing act. We try to keep our kids healthy and free of disease, but the right decision —one more day at home or back to school — isn’t always clear. How do you know if you are doing the right thing for a sick child?

The pediatricians at AHN Pediatrics know how you feel. We’ve cared for thousands of children and their families throughout western Pennsylvania for over 30 years. Now, we’ll talk to you here on Kidsburgh with monthly articles that address common children’s health concerns, and what parents can do about them.

Worried mother taking temperature of her little son who is lying in bed with fever.

Here is a question we hear quite a bit from worried parents.

“My son threw up on the bus, and now has a fever. Is it a stomach flu or something else? Should I let him ride it out at home or call the doctor?”

Vomiting and diarrhea are common symptoms in childhood that usually stop on their own. If either one continues for more than 12 to 24 hours, or if it takes on unusual colors (dark green or bloody), the symptoms may be more serious and dehydration could be a problem, so call the doctor. Ask your pediatrician about what liquids to give and when to gradually start up a normal diet.

“A fever is usually a sign of a viral or bacterial infection,” says Dr. Ned Ketyer, one of the founding physicians of AHN Pediatrics. “When it comes with painful ears or runny nose, it can make your kid — and you — miserable. If you monitor your child’s temperature, and jot down when they have diarrhea, vomiting, or pain, it helps your doctor judge how severe the illness is, and how to treat it.”

Offer the correct dosage of children’s or infant’s acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Motrin and Advil) to lower fever or lessen aches and pain. Keep a tissue in your pocket and call your doctor if you observe:

  • A temperature of 100.4° F or higher for a baby under 3 months old.
  • A fever above 100.4° F that lasts for more than 24 hours for a child under 2 years, or more than three days for a child older than 2.
  • A fever repeatedly over 104° F for a child of any age.

You know when something’s wrong

“Parents develop a sense when their child isn’t acting like themselves or doesn’t look right,” Dr. Ketyer says. “Call a doctor if your child is unusually fussy or tired, has a stiff neck, a headache, sore throat, ear pain, or a rash that doesn’t go away. Also, after any injury that can’t be fixed with a bandage and a kiss.”

During your next checkup, ask your doctor what over-the-counter medications you should have on hand for pain and discomfort, and what’s the right dose for your child.

Every child is different, so check with AHN Pediatrics or your child’s doctor for specific advice.