get rid

Rotavirus: Treating and Avoiding Dehyrdation

for any parents few things are as

stressful as a trip to the emergency

room now imagine being told your infant

has a virus you've never heard of

millions of parents deal with a

mysterious sounding illness that is

actually more common than you think

rotavirus it strikes nearly every child

before the age of four and ultimately

kills more than 1,000 children a day

worldwide in the United States

approximately 30 children die every year

in the US rotavirus is the number one

cause of severe diarrhea among children

but when this mother of three had to

take two of her children to the

emergency room the same weekend

she had never even heard of rotavirus

the daycare called me at work and asked

me to come and pick Ryan up because he

had thrown up twice and he was kind of

listless he's had flu and colds before

but this was pretty serious Ryan who was

four years old at the time was

hospitalized for three days so that

intravenous lines could counter the

effects of dehydration a day after he

was admitted his sister Amira began

having the same problems because it's

very contagious

doctors had predicted this it's been

found that children can spread rotavirus

both before and after they have symptoms

despite our best efforts young children

will not wipe or they'll do something

and immediately put their fingers in

their mouth in any emergency room it's

the issue of fluid loss that is critical

here in the emergency room patients come

in and they're evaluated by our triage

nurse and their degree of hydration or

dehydration is assessed and the nurses

are looking at not only their vital

signs but how many wet diapers they've

made in the last 24 hours how well

they're drinking if they're drinking if

they're lethargic if their mouths are

dry and that'll give the triage nurse

some idea of

how sick they are kids who experience

the most problems with rotavirus

diarrhea are usually ages three to

thirty five months old illness from

rotavirus usually starts with a fever an

upset stomach and vomiting followed by

diarrhea the diarrhea can be mild to

severe and generally will last three to

nine days doctors say the virus is

seasonal which means most cases of

rotavirus occur between November and May

in the United States it begins to occur

in the southwest and fall and then it

sort of marches across the country

ending up in the Northeast in late

winter or early spring the reason people

haven't heard of rotavirus is unlike say

strep throat where the doctor actually

tests for it does a culture and says Oh

your child has strep routinely it isn't

tested for dr. Margaret Reynolds

professor of pediatrics at the

University of Maryland School of

Medicine has done a great deal of

research on rotavirus because it's so

common and hard to prevent she says it's

important parents and caregivers know

how to treat the symptoms bring the

fever down to make the child more

comfortable the most important thing is

make sure the child does not get

dehydrated if indeed they can't get

their child to drink and they think that

their child's becoming dehydrated then

they need to go to the emergency room

signs of dehydration include a decrease

in urination if you are changing diapers

less than six times a day there may be

cause for concern

also look for sunken eyes no tears when

the child cries extreme thirst unusual

drowsiness or fussiness and a dry sticky

mouth the best fluids to give children

with diarrhea are oral rehydration

solutions that can be found in nearly

all drug stores and grocery stores

because it's a viral illness rotavirus

does not respond to antibiotics it will

run its course frequent hand washing and

disinfecting can help

limit the spread having children wear

clothes over diapers can also help there

are a number of viral illnesses that

commonly cause diarrhea in children

if dehydration is treated the children

normally do fine it's a different matter

when diarrhea is a symptom of certain

forms of bacterial food poisoning some

foods are known to harbor

disease-causing bacteria under cooked

ground beef has been linked to deadly

ecoli outbreaks so it's best not to

serve children hamburgers pink in the

center ecoli infection has also been

linked to contaminated lettuce

unpasteurized milk and cider and

untreated water

pasteurization ensures safety so be sure

to purchase pasteurized milk and cider

and wash all produce and meats foods

involving eggs that are improperly

handled or left out are a common cause

of salmonella poisoning always

refrigerate egg based products like

mayonnaise dressings and it's best not

to serve children runny or uncooked eggs

often milder forms of diarrhea are

related to new or rich foods or a food

allergy in many of these cases a change

in diet may do the trick