Sick 4 Yr Old. Too Many Blueberries or a Stomach Virus

Updated on March 09, 2014
S.A. asks from Chicago, IL
12 answers

My 4 yr old woke up at 2:00 am vomiting in his bed. When I turned on the light to survey the damage, I saw that it was all blueberries. I had given him a small serving of them with his dinner, but he asked for a couple more. I told him he could have 5 more and to count them. I thought that was that. So after he was sick, I went down to the kitchen and the small package was on the counter and half of it was gone. It had been completely full, and he was the only one who had any so he must have been going back to the counter and snatching some without permission.

After the initial big vomit, I thought he was done. Well, not so much. He's been throwing up small amount of blueberries every 30-60 minutes since then. About 10 times total now. Could this just be the blueberries, or might he have a bug? If you child has overindulged on a food, have they thrown up that many times? TIA

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So What Happened?

I think it was definitely a bug. He was lethargic all day yesterday, and is still out of sorts today. We were able to give him small sips of Gatorade starting yesterday morning and he didn't get dehydrated. He's ate a couple of crackers last night, and some toast today. Thanks again!

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answers from Seattle on

ETA: I think my tone was too strong and I'm sorry. All I was saying was that sometimes illnesses can stay on the fruit after just a quick rinse of of the fruit. I am inlay blaming you at all, things happen.

You know, it could be the blueberries, in a roundabout way. How well were the berries washed before he ate them? It is possible that he did catch a bit of a bug from the berries if they were't washed well. You never now what kind of sanitary conditions fruit was picked in, if people picking the fruit washed their hands, wore gloves, were sick or healthy, what happened to the fruit after it was picked, etc. I've been known to get sick off of fruit if I haven't washed it well.For me, berries and cherries are the worst.

I have over eaten, and throw up, but not to this extent, and not since I was a kid.

Call the doctors, and see what they say.

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answers from Chicago on

The blueberries (even well-washed ones) could be contaminated with salmonella or a number of other bugs. Make sure you keep him well hydrated--give him pedialyte and watch for signs of dehydration.

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answers from Washington DC on

Updated: Please don't be upset. I just assumed (wrongly, sorry!) that if they were in the original container they hadn't been washed. But even washed, they could still carry something -- that's a risk with any uncooked food. I just was concerned to see so many posts instantly assuming this was "only a tummy bug." We can't diagnose him online. That's why the doctor's the place to go, to be sure either way.

Original: Please do not ignore the possibility that this could be neither a simple stomach virus nor simple overeating. It could be a foodborne illness like E. coli or salmonella --yes, fruits and veg carry both, not just raw chicken etc. These illnesses can take a little time to develop, so this may just be a virus, but I would not make assumptions.

If he continues to be this ill into the night:

He will be dehydrating. Young kids dehydrate very quickly. I took my kid to the local urgent care center when she was vomiting a LOT less than your son is and she was dehydrated and put on an IV for it. Don't let him go too long vomiting and vomiting or you'll have bigger issues. I would call the doctor today and say you need a call back. Ask them: At what point do you take him to the ER or urgent care center for hydration and a test, because....

He needs to be tested for foodborne illnesses. That test is pretty standard if you take him in for hydration but be sure to demand it to be certain it gets done. It's just a blood test. Better to have it done and find it wasn't anything foodborne, just overeating or a virus, than to assume it's a virus and find out that it is E. coli or something like that. Foodborne viruses can be VERY dangerous to young children.

Even if it's only a virus he surely needs some hydration, whether it's at home or in a doctor's office, if he keeps vomiting. Please call your doctor now -- dont' wait until they are open tomorrow morning.

Was he eating blueberries right out of the container from the store? Then they were not washed and that's not safe. Yeah, folks are going to post "we do that all the time and we've never been sick" but my daughter did a big project on foodborne illnesses last year and frankly things like raw fruit and veg are pretty common carriers. I say this as someone who eats a lot of berries myself but I'm crazy about washing them, especially knowing what we learned last year about these illnesses. Young kids are one of the most sensitive groups. I'd rather check and be told "It's a virus" than end up with him in the hospital because we didn't check early enough.

Not trying to scare you, but everyone's just immediately assuming "It's a virus." That is the likely cause, of course, but I would not just assume it, if he ate unwashed berries and is vomiting this much. Ask the doctor what to do and when to do it, and when and whether to consider if this is something beyond a "tummy bug."

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answers from Miami on

I think this is a virus. Even all those blueberries wouldn't cause him to throw up all night long.

When I was a little kid, I went to a watermelon party, and ate it all afternoon. That night I threw up all night long. Ditto the next day and the day after that. I had a stomach virus and even though I know in my "head" that it had nothing to do with the watermelon, I can't eat watermelon to this day. At least I know this, instead of blaming it on a fruit...

Make sure he gets plenty of fluids, a little bit at a time. Gatorade has plenty of electrolytes.

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answers from Washington DC on

I didn't read your other responses but I highly doubt it was the blueberries. One of my kiddos loves blueberries so much, she'll eat the entire quart right when I bring it home! I'm always joking with her, saying, "Geez! That was $8 worth of blueberries you just ate!" But they've never bothered her stomach. Maybe she has an iron stomach. Sounds like your son has a stomach bug. Hope he feels better soon!

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answers from Norfolk on

There's a nasty strain of norovirus going around.
Doesn't matter what he was eating - he'd have barfed it all up anyway.
Expect diarrhea to follow.
Keep his fluids up - small sips of water/ginger ale/pedialyte.
Then keep him on a clear liquid diet for a few days - chicken broth, etc.
Then gradually work in soft and easy foods (yogurt, mashed potatoes, scrambled eggs) Bananas, Rice, Applesauce, Toast, etc until he's back to normal.

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answers from Oklahoma City on

Well, I'd say it doesn't really matter. Next time you let him have blueberries expect the worst and keep an eye on him. If he pukes you know he's sensitive to them and if he doesn't then it was a virus.

Then again, he may never want blueberries again. I got sick once from eating bulk bologna. I was slicing chunks off and eating them while doing homework. I puked all night. I still don't enjoy the scent of bologna or having to make a bologna sandwich.

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answers from Boston on

Could be either one for small amounts of vomiting (or one "session"). Sometimes it's just being way too full, and it doesn't matter what food he ate. But if it's multiple bouts of vomiting over a period of time, then it's very likely that he's got some sort of bug. Once the stomach is empty, it will start to settle down, but there's no short cut. All you can do is wait it out, and avoiding adding anything more into that stomach.

I would not discourage a child from eating fruit though. That's not what caused this, I'm quite sure. 10 different episodes at 30-60 minutes, so you're at a minimum of 6-7 hours, I'm guessing.

I agree that it will probably progress into diarrhea. Once the stomach is completely empty for at least 1-2 hours, you can start with very small amounts of fluids. He will be thirsty, but don't give in to that. Ice chips to suck on can help. Dehydration is not a real worry for 24 hours or so anyway. Let his stomach settle - if he keeps throwing up water, you're doing too much too soon.

Ginger can help, but be careful of ginger ale which nowadays has either high fructose corn syrup (regular) or aspartame (diet). Maybe you can find something in the natural food section that just has real sugar in it. Stir it or let it sit out so it's flat - the bubbles don't help at all! The ginger helps settle, and the sugar is actually okay because a very low sugar level can cause excessive and repetitive vomiting (think women with morning sickness - in extreme cases, they get IVs with water, sugar, salt). If you have any real ginger you can put in some warm water, kind of making your own tea, that can help.

Then graduate to BRAT - bananas, rice, applesauce, toast. I would NOT give yogurt because dairy can be hard on the stomach, and it increases the production of mucus, which can be hard to digest/stomach. That's why a lot of people get nauseated with colds and sinus infections and allergies - mucus in the gut. A scrambled egg might be okay after half a day. No fruit due to increase diarrhea, but a tiny amount of jam on the toast would be okay.

Good luck!

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answers from Kansas City on

More than likely it is a "stomach virus". My grand children had sudden onset vomiting two weeks ago, vomited undigested food, the 4 year old ran fever, the 20 month old vomited and had horrible smelly diarrhea. He didn't have as much diarrhea, but vomited more than she did. Both lasted two to three days. I babysat, got the same thing, then the other grandmother sat the second day and she got the same thing only hers lasted longer and was in bed 3 days. I only vomited about 15 minutes, but diarrhea lasted about 3 days and I didn't really feel bad, just didn't have any appetite until 3rd day.

Hopefully this is isolated to your son and doesn't go to anyone else.
Try not feeding him today, just small sips of fluids, popsicles, maybe pedialyte or Gatorade type drinks. The main thing is that he doesn't get dehydrated too much.
If he is still vomiting, wait a couple of hours before giving anything.

I would bet he will be better in 24 hours.

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answers from Iowa City on

My daughter ate too much peanut butter once and vomited two or three times during the night. Sounds like your son has a virus.



answers from Honolulu on

I think its a stomach bug.
Does he have any other symptoms?

Try and keep him hydrated.



answers from Santa Barbara on

I do not think he overindulged because many kids can eat the pack without an issue. It is very likely he got sick from the blue berries (E coli or similar).

He is young, so I am guessing small, therefore call the urgent care. He may need to be put on an IV.

Save the container in case it needs to be recalled.

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