Rotavirus is a common virus that usually affects children that are under the age of one.  It can affect anyone, even adults, but it is more common in children that are between the age of 3-4 who are in a childcare, or daycare setting.  This is because rotavirus is extremely contagious.  The virus can live on surfaces for weeks to months if left not disinfected. 

Rotavirus is a gastrointestinal infection that causes severe diarrhea.  The virus is passed from contact with an infected person’s stool.  This can be not washing your hands after using the bathroom, or not washing your hands after changing your child’s diaper. 

Without washing your hands if you have the rotavirus on them, anything you touch, toys, crayons, utensils, or any surface can then be infected.  



Prevention of rotavirus is good hand hygiene, but even then that is not guaranteed. There is a rotavirus vaccine that is 90% effective.  The vaccine can help protect your child from getting the virus or it can help make the symptoms less severe in the case they do contact the virus. 

Before the rotavirus vaccine almost every child in the United States would get the rotavirus at least once before the age of 5.   Before the vaccine rotavirus caused an additional of 55,000-77,000 child hospitalizations per year.  Now that the vaccine is here it prevents about 40,000-50,000 of those hospitalizations.  



Symptoms are more severe in children.  The main symptom of the rotavirus is diarrhea.  Your child may also experience vomiting, severe fatigue, high fever, irritability, dehydration, abdominal pain, and lack of appetite. 

The major complication that can arise from rotavirus is dehydration.  Young children can dehydrate very quickly.  It is important to monitor your child for any signs of dehydration, because they may need medical intervention if they become dehydrated.  Signs of dehydration are dry mouth, cool skin, lack of tears when crying, reduced urination, and sunken eyes. 

Adults can also have rotavirus, but the symptoms seem to be less extreme.  Symptoms in adults are vomiting, diarrhea, severe fatigue, high fever, irritability, dehydration, and abdominal pain. 



Rotavirus is usually diagnosed through a physical exam and describing the symptoms.  In some cases your doctor may want to collect a stool sample, but this is usually not necessary.  



There is no specific medicine that will help treat rotavirus quickly.  Antibiotics won’t work and neither will antiviral medications. 

Usually rotavirus can be treated at home.  In some cases it can cause hospitalization if your child becomes dehydrated.  This can lead to your child needing some IV fluids. 

Signs that you need medical attention are if your child has diarrhea for more than 24 hours.  Vomiting frequently.  If they have black or tarry stool, this could mean there is blood in their GI tract.  If their fever gets above 102 degrees F.   If there are any signs of dehydration.  

At home you may give your child fever reducing medication, such as Motrin or Tylenol. 

Make sure they are getting enough fluids like water, broth, ginger ale, or ice chips.  Try to stay away from apple juice, milk, or other sugary beverages.  Electrolyte replacement drinks or popsicles can be helpful in fighting off dehydration.  Offer small more frequent meals or snacks of bland foods. 

Crackers, rice, bananas, and applesauce can be good options if your child is in the mood for those. 

Make sure you are washing your hands.  Even if you have just had rotavirus, you can become re-contaminated shortly afterwards, though symptoms are usually not as severe. 

Disinfect surfaces and toys throughout your house to try to eliminate recontamination, or the spread of the virus to others in your home.  Encourage your child to get plenty of rest.  



The best way to prevent rotavirus is with the vaccine.  Vaccines can help the severity of the disease even if your child happens to still get the virus.  The virus can last up to 10 days.  If symptoms don’t improve or seem to get worse, calling your pediatrician can help avoid any complications. 

The main complication of rotavirus is dehydration.  Dehydration can happen quickly in children.  Making sure you know the signs and symptoms of dehydration can be essential in getting your child the help they need. 

Rotavirus can usually be treated at home, but sometimes needs medical intervention if complications arise. 


Purium’s Immune Shield is the all-natural, proactive support for your child’s immune system. Just a few drops can keep children healthier as well as re-balance little bodies when they aren’t at 100% strength.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *