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Diet for Rotavirus

By Genevieve Van Wyden ; Updated June 13, 2017

Because of their proximity, children in day care easily pass illnesses to one another. One of those illnesses, caused by the rotavirus, can spread quickly through this group, causing severe gastrointestinal distress and loss of fluids. The best preventative measure is having your child vaccinated. If he isn't immunized and does come down with the illness, call your doctor, who will tell you how to treat your child. He will advise you about feeding your child.

Rotavirus and Food

Rotavirus symptoms include diarrhea, fever, headache and vomiting. If your child doesn’t have an appetite, the BRAT diet will help keep her nourished with minimal intestinal distress, according to the Keep Kids Healthy website. The BRAT diet consists of bananas, rice, applesauce and dry toast. Give your child plenty of clear fluids to keep her hydrated. Talk to your doctor about also giving her a pediatric rehydration solution.

Treat With Food and Fluid says you can feed your child a regular diet, including fruits, vegetables and meats, provided he is not vomiting. Provide smaller meals more frequently and don’t give foods high in sugar. If your baby has rotavirus, continue giving him his formula or breast milk. The nutrients in breast milk or formula will give him what he needs.

Why to Give Food

Rotavirus can last from three to seven days, but in some instances, it can run for two weeks. For this reason, it is important to provide nourishing food that your child can tolerate, according to Keep Kids Healthy. Limiting her diet may cause her diarrhea to last longer. Every time she has a large, watery bowel movement, give her extra fluid so she stays hydrated.

How Food Helps

Soft, bland foods or a regular diet provide your child with the energy he needs to fight rotavirus and get better, according to Even though he’ll run to the bathroom and have a bowel movement, some of the nutrition in his food will have gotten into his bloodstream, thus benefiting him. Rotavirus has to run its course.

Food vs. Clear Fluids

While you may want to restrict your child to clear fluids, these may make him vomit more, according to Giving him too much oral rehydration solution can also cause swelling in his hands, feet and eyelids. Your child needs nourishment, which a bland diet or smaller servings of vegetables, meat and fruits can provide. If all she can tolerate is applesauce and toast, give this to her. If she can handle banana and bland chicken, give this to her.

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