Is Rotavirus Serious?

Rotavirus is a highly contagious disease that causes gastroenteritis, also called the "stomach flu." Rotavirus can indeed be serious, but it's less of a problem than it used to be, since vaccines are available to prevent it. Infants may receive one of two rotavirus vaccines, which are both given orally. Making sure your child's vaccinations are up to date is an effective way to reduce visits to the emergency pediatrician.

Signs and Symptoms

The onset of rotavirus symptoms is usually two days after the child contracts the virus. At first, you'll likely notice that your child is running a fever and is vomiting. These symptoms are soon followed by watery diarrhea, which can last about three to eight days. Some kids suffer from stomach pain and loss of appetite.


Rotavirus isn't pleasant, but for some patients, it can be downright dangerous. Diarrhea and vomiting both cause dehydration, especially when these symptoms persist for days. Your child needs urgent care if he or she shows any signs of dehydration, such as:

  • Significant decrease or cessation of urination
  • Dry mouth and throat
  • Dizziness upon standing
  • Crying with few to no tears
  • Unusual sleepiness or fussiness

A doctor should also see your child if he or she can't keep fluids down. The after hours pediatrician may need to give your child fluids intravenously.


Unfortunately, medicines can't treat the virus itself, although the doctor may recommend some medications to manage the symptoms. The patient simply needs to let the virus run its course. You can comfort your child and prevent dehydration by encouraging him or her to sip fluids frequently. An oral rehydration fluid—commonly available in supermarkets and drugstores—is effective for preventing dehydration.

At Pediatrics After Hours, it's our mission to help sick kids feel well again quickly when their regular pediatrician's office is closed. Our four urgent care facilities in the DFW area are fully staffed by a team of caring professionals who understand the sensitive needs of young children. No appointment is needed, but you can call us at (214) 363-7242.

Categories: rotavirus


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