Rotavirus is a virus that causes diarrhea and other intestinal symptoms. It is a type of infection that’s most common in children under 5 years old. It’s highly contagious, and the virus that causes it is easily transmittable. While the infection occurs most often in young children, adults can also develop the infection, although it’s usually less severe.
If you look at a rotavirus through a microscope, it has a round shape. The Latin word for wheel is “rota,” which explains how the virus got its name.
Medications can help with the symptoms, but there’s no cure for rotavirus. Even children who have been vaccinated against it may get it more than once.
Symptoms of rotavirus tend to be most prominent in children. Symptoms can start within 2 days after being exposed to the rotavirus.
The most common symptom of rotavirus is severe diarrhea. Children can also experience:
• abdominal pain
• severe fatigue
• a high fever
Causes & Risk Factors –
Anyone can get rotavirus, but it most commonly affects:
• Young children
• Close relatives
• Those who work with children, such as nannies or child care workers
If your child has rotavirus, it’s in their poop before symptoms start and up to 10 days after they taper off. During that time, when your child wipes after using the toilet, rotavirus can spread to their hands. If they don’t wash their hands, they might contaminate anything they touch, including:
• Crayons and markers
• Surfaces such as sinks and kitchen counters
• Toys, including shared electronics such as iPads and remote controls
If you touch your child’s unwashed hands or any object they’ve contaminated and then touch your mouth, you can be infected.
Disinfecting is key. Rotavirus can live on surfaces and objects for weeks.
Severe diarrhea can lead to dehydration, particularly in young children. Left untreated, dehydration can become a life-threatening condition regardless of its cause.
Healthcare providers can often diagnose rotavirus based on symptoms and a physical examination. In some cases, they may take a stool (poop) sample to test it for rotavirus. But, this step usually isn’t needed.
Rotavirus is caused by a virus, not bacteria. So antibiotics won’t help your child feel better. The virus gets better on its own after about a week. The main treatment is to keep your child hydrated.
Along with taken care for hydration of child ,also follow these simple steps to make your child feel comfortable –
• Give your child smaller, more frequent feedings instead of larger meals.
• Make sure your child gets enough fluids.
• Use an electrolyte replacement such as Pedialyte®. Electrolytes help keep body systems in balance, but you can lose them through vomiting and diarrhea. Replacements can fix that.
• Avoid sugary or fatty foods, or sugary juices, as these can make diarrhea worse
• Give your child some acetaminophen (Tylenol®) to lower the fever. Make sure not to give your child aspirin.
• Wash your hands after changing diapers or touching stool.
• Make sure your child rests.
• Recommend your child stay at home instead of going to daycare/school.
• Follow up with your healthcare provider as necessary
Hospitalization is only required for infections that have caused severe dehydration. This is especially the case in children. A doctor will administer intravenous (IV) fluids to help prevent life threatening complications.
To reduce the spread of rotavirus, wash your hands thoroughly and often — especially after you use the toilet, change your child’s diaper or help your child use the toilet. But even strict hand-washing doesn’t offer any guarantees. And commonly used alcohol-based hand sanitizers have little effect on rotavirus.
The World Health Organization recommends that all countries give infants a rotavirus vaccine. There are two vaccines available:
• RotaTeq. This vaccine is given by mouth in three doses, often at 2, 4 and 6 months. The vaccine isn’t approved for use in older children or adults.
• Rotarix. This vaccine is a liquid given in two doses to infants at ages 2 months and 4 months.
The vaccine is more than 90 percentTrusted Source effective in preventing severe rotavirus disease.
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