Rotavirus affecting many children: Properly washing hands is absolutely important

ORANJESTAD - In the past months, the Department of Public Health has noticed an increased amount of rotavirus related symptoms like diarrhea and vomiting among children between the age of 0 and 7 years.

Child washes his hands with soapIn most cases the symptoms have been seen in children between the ages 1 and 4 years, which have been confirmed as rotavirus by lab tests.

Symptoms of the Rotavirus are: diarrhea , fever, vomiting and abdominal pain. This can cause dehydration and may require hospitalization for 2 to 3 days.

The virus spreads easily through hand-to-mouth contact, from objects, food and beverages infected with contaminated feces. Most infections take place at home, school or daycare.

Infants and toddlers can spread the virus as soon as 2 days prior to getting diarrhea and up to 8 days after the diarrhea started. In the event of diarrhea, absolute hygiene should be applied to avoid spreading further spreading of the Rotavirus. This includes proper and frequent hand washing with antibacterial soap, prior to handling food and after using the toilet.

Adults caring for infected children should also wash their hands properly before preparing food or drinks for the children. Any objects or toys that are used by infected children should be cleaned using a disinfectant solution.

There is no specific treatment for the Rotavirus, the immune system will take care of the virus, since antibiotics nor antivirals do not affect the Rotavirus at all. In the event of ill children, it is advised to keep the children home for as long as possible in order to avoid the rotavirus to spread. Proper hydration is very important; children should be given plenty of water or PediaLite. Please do not give any sports drinks.

In the event of symptoms like dry mouth, thirsty, little or no urination, weakness, fever above 40 degrees, sharp abdominal pain, slimy or bloody diarrhea, please consult your doctor immediately.

It is very important to teach the children at a young age the importance of frequent and proper hand washing, in order to avoid the spreading of illnesses like the Rotavirus.