Rotavirus is a commonly known ailment that is prevalent among young children. So, what is rotavirus? As the name suggests, it is a virus that causes viral gastroenteritis among several children under the age of 5. Rotavirus is among the most common causes of severe diarrhea, and it may happen more than once.
Rotavirus is a highly contagious virus that is caused by close human being contact. As such, it may be easily passed on from one infected child to another. The virus is spread through contact with the faeces of an infected child. This may seem highly unlikely to happen, but it happens very often. An infected child whose diaper is changed or who visits the toilet may carry the germs on himself. The germs will then be spread to surfaces such as doorknobs, taps, toys, utensils and stationery such as pens. Children using the same items will easily contract the virus when they come into contact with the child and the surfaces with germs.
Rotavirus causes mild to severe diarrhea whose symptoms include several bouts of diarrhea within a period of 24 hours, vomiting, fever, and abdominal pain. The diarrhea is usually watery, green and it has a foul smell. Persistent diarrhea and vomiting often lead to dehydration.
Parents and caregivers should keep a mindful eye on infected children to avoid dehydration since this may cause other health problems. The most common symptoms of dehydration are lethargy, dry skin, dry and sticky mouth, sunken eyes, a sunken soft spot on the forehead, extreme thirst, and a low-frequency urination.
Treatment of rotavirus depends on the severity of the child’s symptoms. In most cases, children are treated at home and kept under the watchful eye of their caregivers who keep track of their symptoms. Home remedies entail rehydration drinks which keep the child hydrated by replacing body fluids and necessary electrolytes. It is not advisable to give your child a lot of water during this period since most of them end up vomiting it, and water does not contain the necessary nutrients for rehydration.
Hospitalization is only necessary when the child has extreme diarrhea, incessant vomiting, and dehydration for over 24 hours. In this case, the doctor will administer intravenous fluid replacement for faster hydration and recovery.
Children often recover from severe symptoms of rotavirus after a few days, but mild diarrhea may last for a few weeks. The best advice is to be mindful of symptoms, changes, and progress during the period of infection.