Rotavirus is basically an infection among children that lead to loose stools or diarrhea along with vomiting. This condition typically occurs during late winter up to early spring in which rotavirus affects all age groups, but more prevalent among children below 1 year old.
Most children might acquire the condition by 5 years old due to its contagious nature. Take note that rotavirus quickly spreads when a person comes in contact with stool. With this in mind, proper handwashing is vital in preventing the spread of the virus.
Does my child have rotavirus?
If you suspect that a child has rotavirus, you have to watch out for the following symptoms:
- High temperature or fever above 101 degrees F
- Watery diarrhea (lasts for 5-7 days)
The child seems to play less than usual and sleeps more. Remember that the fever and vomiting usually lasts for 2 days but diarrhea can last for up to a week.
When to consult a doctor
Since rotavirus is a viral condition, antibiotics will not work. It is best to consult a doctor if the episodes of vomiting and diarrhea increases or if the child has no soiled diapers for more than 8 hours. Other indications of dehydration include dry lips, pale skin and sunken eyes. Remember that children can become dehydrated quickly if diarrhea and vomiting persists, thus resulting to serious complications or even death.
- Always follow the instructions given by the doctor.
- Provide the child with small frequent feedings throughout the day instead of the usual 3 large meals.
- Make sure that the child is given enough fluids to drink
- You can provide the child with an electrolyte replacement drink but carefully follow the directions on the packaging.
- For fever, you can provide the child with the suitable dose of acetaminophen.
- Allow the child to get enough rest.
- Always wash hands after changing the diaper or touching the stool.
- Comply with the follow-up appointments with the doctor.
Even though most cases of rotavirus can be managed at home, infants who become dehydrated require hospitalization. The doctor might need to test the stool or blood to determine if it is a virus and not bacteria as the cause for the condition.
While at the hospital, the child is given fluids intravenously and food intake is slowly encouraged.