Beat That Tummy Bug

Young Parents (Singapore) - - THE BABY YEARS -

Ro­tavirus is the lead­ing cause of di­ar­rhoeal hos­pi­tal­i­sa­tions among chil­dren, but good per­sonal hy­giene and vac­ci­na­tion can pro­tect your lit­tle one from in­fec­tion2,5.

It’s frus­trat­ing to see your baby in dis­com­fort or pain and not know ex­actly why your child is cry­ing. When Baby’s suf­fer­ing is ac­com­pa­nied by di­ar­rhoea, vom­it­ing and a fever, it can be even harder to tell what’s go­ing on in­side the body. If Baby ex­hibits all these symp­toms – se­vere watery di­ar­rhoea, vom­it­ing, ab­dom­i­nal pain, and a fever of 39.4 deg C or higher – it is likely that your child has ro­tavirus1, Ro­tavirus symp­toms may per­sist up to seven days, and in­fants aged three to 24 months are more likely to suf­fer se­vere in­fec­tions. In Sin­ga­pore, 40 per cent of di­ar­rhoeal cases are due to ro­tavirus2.

HOW RO­TAVIRUS SPREADS

Ac­cord­ing to the Cen­ters for Dis­ease Con­trol and Pre­ven­tion in the US, ro­tavirus spreads eas­ily among in­fants and young chil­dren. Chil­dren suf­fer­ing from this dis­ease can be­come de­hy­drated and may re­quire hos­pi­tal­i­sa­tion3.

Ro­tavirus in­fec­tion is highly con­ta­gious and can spread from per­son to per­son via con­tam­i­nated sur­faces, hands and ob­jects, in­clud­ing toys. The virus en­ters the body through the mouth and in­fects the in­testi­nal lin­ing4, Be­cause ro­tavirus is re­sis­tant in na­ture, it can stay alive on sur­faces for days. This means that the virus can spread from per­son to per­son very eas­ily in places like the home and day­care cen­tres6.

TREAT­MENT

There is no spe­cific med­i­ca­tion to treat the ro­tavirus in­fec­tion. Treat­ment gen­er­ally con­sists of in­creased oral fluid in­take to pre­vent de­hy­dra­tion. Se­vere cases of de­hy­dra­tion may re­quire hos­pi­tal­i­sa­tion5.

PRE­VEN­TION

But you can pro­tect Baby from this dread­ful con­di­tion. Good per­sonal hy­giene such as hand wash­ing is im­por­tant in con­trol­ling the spread of this in­fec­tion. How­ever, vac­ci­na­tion is the best method for pre­ven­tion against ro­tavirus in­fec­tion in in­fants and young chil­dren. Ro­tavirus vac­cines pre­vent di­ar­rhoea and vom­it­ing caused by ro­tavirus only. They do not pre­vent di­ar­rhoea and vom­it­ing caused by other germs5. To find out if your baby needs to be vac­ci­nated against ro­tavirus, speak to a doc­tor.

Ro­tavirus can eas­ily be trans­mit­ted from chil­dren to care­givers.

One symp­tom to watch out for is a se­vere watery di­ar­rhoea.

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