Understand Common Childhood Disease- Rotavirus

“Rotavirus”-the most common contagious infection that affects almost every child before reaching the age of five and can be easily prevented by washing hands properly. Read about disease symptoms, treatment and prevention.

The commercial advertisement of popular disinfectant products always reminds me about the “Importance of washing hands” -explained by a senior pediatrician. While attending the pediatric clinic we observed that our sir keep on washing his hands before and after examining the patients, especially the child patients who were suffering from diarrhea and vomiting. He also instructed their mothers to do same. One day one of my friends asked him “sir, why you put so much emphasis on washing hands? In his reply he gave us the detail information about the disease called “Rotavirus’ that spread through contaminated hand and can be prevented easily by maintaining good hygiene.

He said Rotavirus infection is one of the most common viral infections, occurring mostly among the children between the ages of 3 months to 3years; causing severe diarrhea and vomiting to the infected child. Rotavirus is considered as one of the leading causes of the death in children below the age of five in developing countries. Adult also catch the infection but symptoms of disease are milder in adults in comparison to children

The virus of the disease can be transmitted by people with dirty hands. Anyone can catch infection through close contact with infected person and by touching or using objects contaminated by infected person. We can also get infection by inhaling infected air droplets, or by eating contaminated food prepared by infected person.

What are the symptoms of rotavirus infection?

The infected child may develop

  • Acute vomiting
  • Watery diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Abdominal pain

Continues diarrhea and vomiting can lead to “Dehydration” and child may have

  • Dryness of mouth and eyes
  • Tears absent while crying
  • Sunken eyes
  • Less urine frequency
  • Weakness and sluggishness


Except dehydration no major complications are know to be associated with rotavirus.

What is the treatment of rotavirus?

Give plenty of fluid or ORS (oral rehydration solution) to child. This will prevent the development of dehydration.  Fluid intake should be continued till the child recovers its own. The infants need to be feed frequently and monitor constantly for the symptoms of dehydration. Meanwhile consult a healthcare provider and give medicine as per their instruction to control fever and abdominal pain.

With proper rest, easily digestible diet and adequate fluid intake your child will recover within 4-6 days of infection.

How can we prevent the spread of disease?

“By washing our hands properly” replied sir. He also added that people need to maintain the good hygiene to prevent the spread of rotavirus infection. Mother must wash her hands properly before and after changing the nappies of infected baby, visiting toilet and before preparing, serving or eating food. Ideally we should wash our hands with liquid soap and warm water. Along with that, we must keep out toilet and bathroom accessories clean by using disinfectant. To stop the spread of infection, the baby’s stool must be disposed off appropriately.

The parents and teachers must encourage children to develop a habit of washing hands properly, especially before eating food and after passing stool.

“Now, all of you must have understood the importance of washing hands” concluded sir. Yes we do. What about you readers?

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