Most children will have contracted rotavirus by the age of five, this virus surviving in human hands for up to four hours and primarily attacking the gastrointenstinal tract. Rota virus is the leading cause of diarrhea and vomiting among children; and while mild most times, the virus can take a serious turn in some cases, with tens of thousands of children hospitalized each year as a result of this infection.


+Diagnosing Rota Virus-

Because of the danger posed, it is necessary that one possess the capability to diagnose the presence of the virus:

-One should probably assume Rota virus if symptoms begin manifesting in the early spring or winter, especially for kids restricted to day care. Diarrhea and vomiting are the primary symptoms of the disease, along with fever and abdominal pain, manifesting 1-2 days following exposure.

-You will need to track the diarrhea, which might last a few days to weeks, depending on the severity of the case; your doctor will have to take a stool sample before rotavirus can be confirmed.


+Treating a child with Rotavirus

-The first step is always to test urine and stool samples, as well as administering antibiotics; certainly antibiotics will prove useless against rotavirus, but they will treat any bacterial infection that might be manifesting rotavirus like symptoms.

-Make certain that the child is isolated from others to prevent the virus from spreading; most schools have policies to deal with how long children should abstain from school after having contracted such illnesses.

-Dehydration must be combated by providing the child in question with plenty of fluids, though keeping them clear of soft drinks and even fruit juices that are likely to worsen diarrhea. Where applicable breast milk should be provided.

-While vomiting might make dehydration an issue, even if the child struggles to hold anything down you can offer fluids in small amounts over short time periods to cater for this problem.

-A BRAT diet, including bananas, rice and toast should be followed in feeding the child’s hunger, in attempting to combat the diarrhea. Consider making use of acetaminophen to combat the fever, which may exacerbate the dehydration problem.

You will need to visit the doctor if symptoms persist or intensify.

+ Of course all such complexities could be avoided by having your child receive a rotavirus vaccine. Certainly rota virus vaccines have faced challenges, especially with the debacle of rotashield- and the considerable deaths associated with its use. But scientific studies have justified the use of the rota virus vaccine, figures proving that the benefits of the vaccine far outweigh the risks, with the single death of child countered by the four hundred that would be saved.

With the critical nature of the virus, even making the ethical considerations, in the absence of a standard risk to benefit ratio for vaccines, one need only look at the five year benefits and then try to make the best decision for their child’s future.