Amid Rotavirus Outbreak Scare Schools Urge Parents To Take Care Of Their Kids

Sarmistha Neogy
·6-min read

At a time when parents are struggling to keep their children safe from coronavirus, a new infection has added to their concern. Amid an outbreak scare, schools have sent out an advisory to parents warning them of a spike in stomach flu infection in kids. They have also asked parents to watch out for rotavirus symptoms as most children have been infected with the same.

In the said advisory, school authorities advised parents to conduct a health check at home and watch out for the symptoms.

Schools Warn Parents About A Possible Rotavirus Outbreak

rotavirus symptoms
rotavirus symptoms

Image courtesy: iStock & Screengrab: WhatsApp

The advisory begins with informing parents of the “recent trend of children being unwell and away from school.”
It further adds that there is a spike in stomach flu island-wide and that schools “seek children are well, showing no symptoms of illness, before come to school.”

“We as parents to assist and conduct a health-check at home prior to coming to school.” the advisory reads. It then goes on to list the symptoms that parents must keep an eye on:

  • Temperature (< 37.7-degree celsius indicates a fever)

  • Runny nose, mucus

  • Cough

  • Watery or red eyes

  • Ulcers on the hand, feet and inside the mouth and throat.

  • Loss of appetite

  • Loose stools

It then goes on to explain that a child should be given immediate attention if he/she exhibits any of the above rotavirus symptoms. They should be kept at home and allowed to recuperate from the infection. Schools also urged parents to cooperate and not send their children to school if they are unwell, to curb the spread of the infection.

The advisory ends with a warning that any child attending school with these symptoms will be sent back.

The advisory has come at an opportune time as not many cases have been reported openly. In fact, most schools are working to nip this in the bud. But if you are a concerned parent who isn’t aware of the seriousness of this illness, worry not. We’ve done the research for you.

What Is Rotavirus And How Does It Affect Your Child?

rotavirus symptoms
rotavirus symptoms

Image courtesy: iStock

Rotavirus is a highly contagious infection that is most common in children under the age of 5 years. Rotavirus symptoms include inflammation in the stomach and intestines. Children can experience a severe case of diarrhoea, vomiting, fever, belly pain, and dehydration as a result of the infection.

Unfortunately, rotavirus isn’t treated with medication.While some medicines may help ease discomfort, there is no cure as such. Even children who have been vaccinated against it may get it more than once.

Usually, rotavirus symptoms may get better on their own, but, dehydration is a serious concern. You need to keep a close watch on your child to know if they need medical intervention.

Rotavirus Symptoms: What You Need To Watch Out

Rotavirus symptoms can be quite prominent in young children. If your child has come into contact with rotavirus, symptoms can start to show within two days post exposure. One of the most common rotavirus symptoms is severe diarrhoea. Your child may also have other symptoms such as:

  • Vomiting

  • Severe fatigue

  • Abdominal pain

  • High fever

  • Dehydration

Remember that young children are at a higher risk of dehydration because they are more vulnerable to loss of fluids through vomiting. Therefore, you’ll need to watch your child carefully for symptoms of dehydration. These could include lack of tears when crying, a dry mouth, cool skin, reduced urination frequency (or fewer wet diapers in infants), and sunken eyes.

While rotavirus mainly affects infants, young children it can be passed on to those around them such as parents, nannies, or child care workers. So, it is very important that you adopt good hygiene practice and inculcate the same in your kids.

Here’s when to seek medical help

If your child shows rotavirus symptoms ensure that he or she has plenty of fluids. The goal is to stay hydrated so that the virus works its way out of the system. Here’s how:

  • Check if they are drinking plenty of fluids (minimum 8 glasses of water)

  • If they are not taking water, you can try fruit juices

  • Serve them broth-based soups, which will add the missing nutrients from their body

  • Avoid sugary or fatty foods as these can make your kid’s diarrhoea worse

Usually, the symptoms do get better with time. But, if they are getting worse, you may need to call your doctor. The latter will need to be done in case of the following.

  • If your child is constantly vomiting

  • Can’t keep any fluid down and is constantly throwing up

  • Has a fever of 104°F (40°C) or higher

  • Is severely dehydrated

Safety Precautions: How To Avoid The Risk Of Spreading Rotavirus

1. Wash your hands regularly

rotavirus symptoms
rotavirus symptoms

Washing hands frequently should be done to avoid the spread of rotavirus (Photo courtesy: Pixabay)

If your child has rotavirus, it will be in their stool up to 10 days after the infect tapers off.

During this time, when your child wipes after using the toilet, rotavirus can spread to their hands. If they don’t wash their hands properly, they stand a chance of contaminating anything they touch. For instance, their toys, utensils or even other humans.

2. Disinfect your surroundings frequently

rotavirus symptoms
rotavirus symptoms

Disinfect the surfaces frequently to avoid the spread of rotavirus infection (Photo courtesy: Wikimedia Commons)

When you touch their unwashed hands or any objects that they’ve contaminated, even you can get infected. So, disinfection is the key as rotavirus infection has the potential to live on surfaces and objects for weeks. CDC recommends getting your child vaccinated, so they are less likely to spread the infection at home. And of course, disinfecting your home thoroughly.

Rotavirus Vaccine: What Is Known So Far

Before the introduction of rotavirus infection, it was common for young children to have at least one bout of rotavirus infection. Since 2006, hospitalisations and deaths from rotavirus have dropped significantly. As parents, you can prevent complications of the rotavirus symptoms by making sure your child gets vaccinated.

The rotavirus vaccine comes in two forms:

  • Rotarix for infants 6 to 24 weeks old

  • RotaTeq for infants 6 to 32 weeks old

What needs to be kept in mind is that there is no vaccine available for older children and adults. This is the reason health care professionals stress getting rotavirus vaccine for your child at an early age. And while the vaccine doesn’t guarantee 100 percent effectiveness, it can help to reduce the severity.

If you’ve received this advisory from your child’s school, do not panic. Follow necessary precautions and curb the spread of rotavirus further. Most importantly, take good care of your little one and maintain proper hygiene at home.

Source: Healthline, Webmd


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