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Childhood diarrhea (Rota virus infection)

Rotavirus is the most common viral infection of a childhood. Almost all children  had a rotavirus infection by the time they reaches the age of five. Rotavirus infection is one of the most common causes of diarrhea and vomiting in children below the age of five, which in some cases leads to severe, fatal dehydrating diarrhea in infants and young children.
Rotavirus infections are responsible for approximately more than half a million deaths worldwide, the incidences of infant death are more in developing countries, where nutrition and health care are not sufficient.
Adult also became a victim of infection however the symptoms of infection are milder in adults in comparison to children.

Causes and contagious- spread of infection
Rotavirus is highly contagious infection and the virus can be transmitted by infected people with unwashed hands.

  • People who take care for children including healthcare professionals can also spread the virus, especially if caretakers don’t wash their hands after changing the diapers.
  • By close contact with infected person either by ingesting the infected droplets or by touching and using the objects already contaminated by infected person,
  • Food that has been contaminated by infected person while preparing it.

Signs and symptoms of rotavirus

  • Acute vomiting and watery diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Abdominal pain

 If not treated in time child may develop dehydration –

  • Dryness of mouth and eyes,
  • No tears while crying,
  • Sunken eyes,
  • Decrease urine frequency
  • Weakness and sluggishness etc.
  • Diagnosis
  • Mostly the symptoms helps to conclude the diagnosis, in certain cases stool test in laboratory are advised to confirm the diagnosis of rotavirus infection.

Complications associated with Rotavirus infection
In most cases patient recovers from the infection without developing major complications. Few patients may develop following complications

  • Dehydration
  • Electrolyte imbalance in the body (salt) or
  • Temporary lactose intolerance (in ability to digest milk)
  • Persistent diarrhea syndromes (rare)

Maintenance of good hygiene, especially washing hands with soap and warm water can significantly prevent the spread of rotavirus infection.
Wash hands thoroughly especially

  • before and after changing the diaper of baby,
  • after visiting toilet
  • before preparing, serving or eating food

Other preventing measure includes

  • Regular cleaning of toilet and bath room accessories using disinfectants
  • Appropriate disposal of baby’s stool
  • Children must encourage developing habit of washing hands properly especially before eating food and after passing stool.

Treatment of rotavirus infection involves prevention of dehydration by supplementing plenty of fluid until the body recovers its own.  No specific medications are required to counteract rotavirus. Infants needs to be feed frequently and should be monitored constantly for the signs of dehydration. Dehydration drink supplementation may be required in some cases. Proper rest, nutritious diet and plenty of fluid intakes ensures fast recovery.  In most cases patient recovers within 4-6 days of infection.  In few cases patient needs to hospitalization also.


Health Tips

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