What is nausea?
Nausea is the feeling that you’re going to vomit.
Your child might get nausea if she:
- is sick – for example, if she has gastro
- is taking some medications
- has food intolerances
- gets motion sickness.
Symptoms of nausea
Older children and teenagers will probably tell you that they feel sick or feel like they’re going to vomit.
Younger children might not be able to tell you that they feel like vomiting, but might look pale and unwell.
Sometimes nausea happens by itself, and sometimes your child might actually vomit.
Does your child need to see a doctor about nausea?
You should see your GP if your child’s nausea lasts for more than 24 hours or your child has nausea plus any of the following symptoms:
- recent head trauma
- stomach pain or bloating.
Take your child to a hospital emergency department straight away or call an ambulance if your child has nausea plus any of the following symptoms:
- headache or a stiff neck
- difficulty breathing or swelling around the face or mouth
- blurred vision
- confusion and drowsiness
If your child has nausea and you’re worried that he’s very unwell, see your GP or go to a hospital emergency department.
If your child has nausea, simple treatment is usually the best. It’s also good if you can work out what’s causing the nausea and treat this underlying cause.
For example, for nausea that’s linked to gastro, make sure your child avoids fatty foods or heavy meals. Instead, encourage your child to have lots of small drinks of water or oral rehydration fluid, as well as bland foods like dry biscuits.
Older children with nausea can try sucking on a sugary lolly like barley sugar.
If your child is in hospital with an illness and has nausea, strong medicines given through a drip or in the mouth can help. For longer-term nausea, your doctor might suggest something to distract your child, like music or art therapy.
Medicines to prevent nausea rarely work in young children, and they can have very unpleasant side effects.