Learn what rotavirus is, what its symptoms are and how to help your child in case of infection.
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Have you heard about the rotavirus🇧🇷 It belongs to a family of a wheel-shaped virus and is one of the most frequent causes of acute diarrhea and vomiting in infants and young children.
It is estimated that, worldwide, practically all children up to 5 years of age will have at least one episode of rotavirus gastroenteritis, as it has a high prevalence in the human intestine and is excreted in feces.
So, by causing diarrhea and vomitingit is extremely important that measures are taken to prevent the child from becoming dehydrated – thus increasing the consumption of liquids.
Also, know that it is not recommended to give the child food or medication that restricts the intestines before the first 5 days of diarrhea. This is because it is necessary for the virus to be eliminated through the faeces so that the infection itself does not worsen.
7 questions about rotavirus in children
If you have babies or children at home, you know that the probability of contracting a virus in schools or even at home is huge and the rotavirus does not stay out.
In fact, children are less protected against this type of virus due to their immune system. Because they are still growing, it becomes easier to contract a number of diseases and viruses through simple skin-to-skin contact with adults and other children.
We answer the most common questions about rotavirus. Stay with us.
How do you get rotavirus?
The virus is released into the environment through the stages of an infected adult, child or infant. and can survive several days outside the human host.
That is, rotavirus spreads from person to person, especially if people with diarrhea do not wash their hands very carefully after defecating.
In addition, infection can also occur if a child, infant or adult carrying the virus touches their mouth after touching an object contaminated by infected faeces. (such as diapers, toys, pacifiers or changing tables, for example).
Infections can also happen due to consumption of food or water contaminated with the virus. However, the prevalence is lower.
At what time of year is the transmissibility of the virus greatest?
As we know winter is the season of the year when children get sick the most. And as far as rotavirus is concerned it is precisely during the winter (December to April) in temperate climates which causes most cases of diarrhea and vomiting.
And why is the infection so contagious?
The truth is it only takes a few viral particles to cause the infection🇧🇷 And infected children shed millions of rotavirus particles per gram of faeces.
In turn, this type of elimination starts before symptoms appear and can even continue when they are free of any symptoms. For this reason, it is almost impossible to avoid contagion.
In addition, as mentioned above, rotavirus remains infectious for several days in contaminated objects.
What are the associated symptoms?
The main symptoms of rotavirus are fever and vomiting, followed by watery diarrhea that usually lasts about 5 to 7 days.🇧🇷
If lost fluids are not replaced, the infected child can become dehydrated – which makes them tired, with a constantly dry mouth and a rapid pulse. Therefore, the most important thing to do in these situations is to hydrate.
In case you can’t eat a lot of food and even drink a lot of water or tea, the ideal is to wet your lips regularly so that some liquid is absorbed.
My son attends a kindergarten. Are you at risk of contracting the virus?
Rotavirus infection is easily transmitted between children, especially when there is close contact between them – which is what happens in day care centers, between siblings and in kindergartens.
As this is an infection with prevalence in babies and children up to 5 years old, it is normal for them to be at risk of contracting the virus with their classmates.
However, even if they do not attend kindergartens or day care centers, the truth is that all children are at risk of infection and of having a serious case of gastroenteritis to rotavirus.
How is rotavirus infection treated?
There is no specific drug for the virus🇧🇷 Thus, treatment is based on maintaining the child’s hydration (through liquids or serum in severe cases) and medication to control symptoms such as fever and vomiting.
If you suspect an infection, contact your pediatrician as soon as possible.
Is there any vaccine to protect against the virus?
Currently, the vaccines available against rotavirus are solutions to be administered orally and not by injection.🇧🇷
It is recommended to administer the vaccine as early as possible. can be taken from 6 weeks of age🇧🇷 In addition, know that the vaccination schedule consists of the administration of several doses and must be completed before 24 or 32 weeks of life (depending on the vaccine).
According to the National Vaccination Program, oral vaccines can be given by a health professional at the same time as other injectable vaccines. Talk to the doctor and ask all your questions.