Rotavirus: A guide for parents

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Find out all you need to know about rotavirus and how you can protect your little one from it.

The truth about infant diarrhoea

As parents, we are pretty accustomed to handling a kid with an upset stomach and the accompanying symptoms of diarrhoea.

These tummy bugs can go away by themselves but at times some bugs can last for more than a week1.

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When this happens, there is a risk that our little one can get dehydrated2. In severe cases, some children need to be hospitalised due to dehydration3, 4.

Every year, around 2 million children around the world are hospitalised with bad cases of diarrhoea5, so it is important that parents understand what causes this and know how it can be prevented.

Rotavirus – a common cause of severe diarrhoea

Here are some facts you should know about rotavirus infections:

  • It is the most common trigger for severe diarrhoea in kids’ worldwide6.
  • Globally, it is also the leading cause of death among children under 57.
  • Yearly, 453,000 children succumb to the illness8.
  • These deaths are not limited to developing countries – 9% of the rotavirus-related deaths in kids below 5 years old occur in middle to high income countries5.

Signs and symptoms of rotavirus gastroenteritis

Rotavirus usually starts with vomiting. Some kids may have fever, and watery stools which could last for around 5-8 days1.

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How is rotavirus spread?

Rotavirus is highly contagious and can be transmitted by faecal-oral route or through contaminated water, food or other objects3, 9.

The rotavirus infection follows a seasonal pattern in some countries and spreads easily in nurseries where there are many kids3, 9, 10.

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Rotavirus: How can you protect your child?

It is important to understand how you can help to prevent your child from contracting the virus and put them into practice. Key preventive measures include:

  • Breastfeeding – human milk contains protective agents which may offer some protection11.
  • Vaccination – oral Rotavirus vaccine can prevent severe rotavirus infection12, 13.
  • Hygiene – It is essential to follow good hygiene practices such as washing hands after using the toilet, after changing a baby’s nappy and before touching or preparing food14.

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