Rotavirus or the stomach flu may not seem like a serious disease. But it can be really dangerous for children. It’s important to know all the symptoms and to be ready to help immediately as a baby’s life literally depends on your reaction.
Bright Side isn’t going to scare you with statistics. We’ll just tell you what to do to treat rotavirus and how to avoid consequences.
Remember, rotavirus has nothing in common with the flu.
What is rotavirus?
Rotavirus was discovered by Professor Ruth Bishop, a doctor from Australia. Intact virus particles resemble a wheel or a ball (from the Latin word rota, meaning wheel).
When these particles penetrate our bodies, they start destroying thin intestinal villus. The digestion process worsens, a person experiences severe diarrhea and vomiting and children experience an accompanying high temperature.
The main rotavirus symptoms are:
- nausea and vomiting
- high temperature
- stomach pain and rumbles
The main threat to your child is dehydration caused by these symptoms.
In some cases, a cough and runny nose occur so it’s rather difficult to understand what’s wrong. Some children may faint and experience convulsions because of the quick dehydration.
How can you tell the difference between rotavirus and food poisoning?
It’s rather easy to tell the virus apart from food poisoning and there’s no big difference in treatments. In cases of food poisoning, a child should receive enough sorbents and drink a lot of water.
In cases of food poisoning:
- Vomiting isn’t that severe.
- The temperature doesn’t increase or becomes normal again quickly.
- There’s no diarrhea or it goes away fast.
- Stomach pain doesn’t last for too long.
How to treat rotavirus and what medications are dangerous in this case
As dehydration and mineral deficiency are the most dangerous things for your child to endure, rotavirus treatment should be aimed at these problems. The treatment depends on symptoms since there are no specific medications against rotavirus.
It’s important to do the following:
- Supply the body with liquids. Special salt solutions (electrolytes) will restore the balance of necessary elements. And of course, don’t forget about water. In case of severe vomiting, a child should always drink small amounts. If you have an infant and they don’t want to drink, try to give them fluid with the help of a syringe.
- Check the temperature. If the amount of water is fine, the body will defeat the virus faster. In case of a high temperature, parents are recommended to give their child an antipyretic.
- Use sorbents ( and activated carbon and medications containing sorbents).
- Don’t use antibiotics. Antibiotics don’t fight against viruses and they may become dangerous in cases of rotavirus. They affect the intestine that is already damaged and can cause acute diarrhea. Antibiotics are prescribed by doctors in some cases only — for example, if diarrhea lasts for more than 14 days, a person is diagnosed with helminths, or there’s a suspected case of cholera.
If you can’t get electrolytes from a pharmacy or market, you can make a solution that will supply the body with the necessary amounts of salt and other elements:
- 30 fl oz of water
- 2 tbsp of sugar
- 1 tsp of salt
- 1 tsp of baking soda
When you have to react quickly
People of all ages suffer from rotavirus but it mostly affects children under 6 years of age. In some cases, a doctor’s help is needed. Some of them recommend preventing the infection by getting the rotavirus vaccine.
Rotavirus is extremely dangerous for children under 2 years old so you should act quickly.
You have to call a doctor if a baby is dehydrated. The main features are: the baby doesn’t sweat, it experiences breathing difficulty, or it doesn’t urinate for more than 3 hours. Also, watch if your infant cries without tears or their tongues and mucosas are dry. In this case, children are at high risk for pneumonia.
Don’t be afraid of a hospital or an ambulance — doctors will do everything to help your baby.
Is a certain diet needed?
During the first 24 hours, a person probably won’t want to eat at all but they have to drink enough water. You may also give your child tea instead of water. Milk and dairy products are prohibited as rotavirus contributes to lactose intolerance.
You should forget about feeding your child chicken broth as it leads to diarrhea.
What are they allowed to eat? Try to feed them neutral products and slowly expand the menu when diarrhea is no longer an issue. Try feeding them the following:
- Porridges made in water
- Mash potatoes with water and vegetable soup
- Baked apples
We hope these tips will be useful and that your baby will always be healthy! Do you know any other pieces of advice to share with us?