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Fast Facts About Rotavirus

By Christina Elston

You may not have heard of it, but rotavirus is something to watch out for. According to the National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition advocacy group, the virus infects nearly all children by the time they are 3 years old, and is responsible for approximately 100 deaths per year in the United States.

The illness often begins with fever, followed by vomiting, upset stomach and diarrhea. It can cause life-threatening dehydration in young children. Experts advise calling your doctor immediately if your child suffers any of the following symptoms:

  • Frequent vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Lethargy
  • Less frequent urination
  • Crying without tears
  • Dry, cool skin
  • Fever
  • Frequent, watery diarrhea
  • Dry or sticky mouth
  • Sunken eyes or sunken soft spot on top of the head
  • Extreme thirst

Nationally, rotavirus usually peaks in the Southwest in the fall, spreading to the Northeast through the spring, though illness can still occur in the off-season. For more information, visit www.rotavirusready.org.

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