WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:
Rotavirus is a virus that causes inflammation of the small intestine. The infection can prevent your body from absorbing water and nutrients from food. Rotavirus can infect people of all ages, but the first infection most often occurs in children younger than 5 years.
Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:
Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.
Drink plenty of liquids:
You may need to drink extra liquids or give extra liquids to your child to prevent dehydration. You or your child may need oral rehydrating solution (ORS). This is a drink that contains the right amount of salt, sugar, and minerals in water. Ask how much you or your child should drink. If you breastfeed, continue to breastfeed your baby.
Monitor your child during a rotavirus infection:
Make sure you know how much, and how often, your child urinates. This includes how often your baby has a wet diaper. Babies should have at least 6 wet diapers each day. Check your child's urine to see if it is dark yellow or brown. Give him more liquids if he urinates less than usual.
Prevent the spread of a rotavirus infection:
- Get your baby vaccinated: The rotavirus vaccine helps protect your baby from a rotavirus infection. The vaccine may also help decrease your baby's symptoms if he gets a rotavirus infection. The rotavirus vaccine is usually given at 2 months, 4 months, and 6 months of age. The vaccine may be given as early as 6 weeks of age. The vaccine cannot be given once your baby is 8 months old. Ask your baby's primary healthcare provider for more information about rotavirus vaccine, and if your baby should get it.
- Clean items that may be infected: Use chlorine-based disinfectants to clean surfaces, toilets, toys, and other shared items in your home.
- Stay home while you are sick: Stay away from others for as long as your primary healthcare provider says you should. Do not return to work, school, or daycare until he says it is safe so you do not spread the virus to others.
- Wash hands often: This will help prevent the spread of germs. Encourage everyone in your house to wash their hands with soap and water after they use the bathroom. Everyone should also wash their hands after they change a child's diaper and before they prepare or eat food.
Contact your primary healthcare provider if:
- Your child has a dry, sticky mouth, cries without tears, or has sunken-looking eyes.
- Your child is drinking less liquid than usual, or is very thirsty and cannot get enough to drink.
- Your child is losing weight.
- Your child urinates less than usual or your baby has fewer than 6 wet diapers in one day.
- You have a fever that is not going away or is getting worse.
- You have blood in your bowel movements.
- You have stomach pain, and more frequent diarrhea.
- Your body is puffy and swollen, and your face is red.
- You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.
Return to the emergency department if:
- The soft spot on your baby's head is sunken.
- Your child's body seems floppy and weak, or he does not respond to you at all.
- You or your child cannot, or will not, drink at all.
- You are confused, more sleepy than usual.
- You see things that are not there.
- You cannot stop vomiting.
- Your hands and feet suddenly become cold.
- You have trouble breathing or your heartbeat is faster than usual.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.