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Quick Facts

Rotavirus Infection

By

The Manual's Editorial Staff

Last full review/revision Dec 2019| Content last modified Dec 2019
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What is rotavirus infection?

Rotavirus is a common virus that causes diarrhea and throwing up.

The virus isn't dangerous in older children. But in babies and young children, a lot of diarrhea and throwing up can cause serious dehydration Dehydration in Children Everyone needs water and certain chemicals (electrolytes) to be healthy. Normally, you drink fluids to meet the need, and being thirsty tells you when you need more fluids. But babies and very... read more (not enough water in the body).

What causes rotavirus infection?

Rotavirus is a virus that spreads when you touch something with infected stool on it, such as a diaper or toy, and then touch your mouth.

What are the symptoms of rotavirus infection?

  • At first, a fever and throwing up

  • Then, watery diarrhea that usually lasts for 5 to 7 days

If children don’t drink enough fluid, they may become dehydrated. Call your child’s doctor right away if your child has diarrhea and any of these warning signs of dehydration:

  • Weakness

  • Low energy

  • Dry mouth

  • Fast heartbeat

How can doctors tell if my child has rotavirus infection?

Although there are many viruses that cause the same symptoms as rotavirus, doctors don't always need to tell them apart. But if they do, doctors test your child's stool for rotavirus.

How do doctors treat rotavirus infection?

Doctors usually treat your child at home with bed rest and fluids to drink.

If your child can't drink enough to keep from being dehydrated, doctors may give your child IV fluids (through a vein).

How can I prevent my child from getting rotavirus infection?

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