“Diarrhea is one of the symptoms of rotavirus infection that you need to watch out for.” The virus that causes rotavirus can also be found in a person’s stool before, during, and after having diarrhea.
Does your little one have diarrhea that doesn’t go away? It could be a symptom of rotavirus infection. This virus is quite common to cause severe diarrhea in children, especially those younger than 2 years. Data from Stanford Children’s Health states that rotavirus infection can cause up to 10 percent of all cases of diarrhea in children under 5 years of age.
This is also evidenced by research published in the Journal of Clinical Microbiology. From March 2001 to April 2002, 836 children under 5 years of age were investigated in Hanoi, Vietnam. Group A rotavirus was identified in 46.7 percent of children with diarrhea.
More about Rotavirus Infection
Rotavirus is highly contagious, because the virus can live long outside the body. The virus is found in a person’s stool before, during, and after the person has diarrhea. A person can transmit the virus even when he or she has no symptoms.
Not washing your child’s hands can cause the virus to contaminate other objects, such as toys. Other children can then become infected if they also touch these contaminated objects. Parents and caregivers can also transmit the virus if they don’t wash their hands after changing diapers.
Infants and children are at the highest risk for rotavirus infection. By the time the children reach 5 years of age, nearly all have had at least one rotavirus infection. The risk of diarrhea and severe dehydration is greatest in children under 3 years of age.
What Are the Symptoms of a Rotavirus Infection?
Symptoms of rotavirus infection generally appear two to three days after a child is infected. The first symptoms are fever, abdominal pain, and vomiting. These symptoms are followed by stomach cramps and watery diarrhea.
Diarrhea can be mild to severe, and can last three to nine days. The danger of severe diarrhea in children under 3 years is dehydration which can be fatal if not treated.
Symptoms of dehydration due to diarrhea to watch out for are:
- Fatigue or restlessness.
- Sensitive and irritable.
- Quick breath.
- The eyes are slightly sunken.
- Dry mouth and tongue.
- Cold skin on arms and legs.
- Change diapers less often.
Rotavirus is a viral infection, so it cannot be treated with antibiotics. Infections should be monitored closely as diarrhea in children can lead to dehydration. Keeping track of the number of times your child urinates will help in discussions with the doctor about dehydration.
A child who has mild diarrhea can continue to eat normally, but the mother should give him extra fluids. Water is a good choice for children over six months. Fruit juices or large amounts of fizzy drinks can make diarrhea worse because of the amount of sugar they contain.
Your doctor may recommend an oral rehydration solution. If your baby is still being breastfed, continue to breastfeed him while he is sick, as often as possible. If your child vomits, give more frequent small amounts of clear fluids. Do not give medicine for vomiting or diarrhea unless your doctor recommends it.