Home Remedies, Momming

Fighting Rotavirus and Other Gastro-Intestinal Infections

“I prayed for this child and the Lord has granted me what I asked of Him.” – 1 Samuel 1:27

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My sweet Peach, like every toddler, has started sticking her hands in her diaper to tell me it needs changed. She is quite the helper, you see.

The problem is I do not always catch her bouts of helpfulness before the hands previously in her dirty diaper inevitably end up in her mouth. This is not good. It is pretty gross, actually.

Rotavirus is a very common infection in toddlers and infants caused by such shenanigans. Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, fevers, and abdominal pain. A toddler or baby can pass this onto the adults (and other children) in his or her life by touching things we use after touching her or his fecal matter. It is also very common for parents to get rotavirus from changing the diapers of an infected child. To say this infection is irritating would be an understatement.

While the rest of the world seems to have been fighting the flu this winter season, the Baten Linares household fought rotavirus. Peaches got it, passed it to her granmomma, and then on to me. We are not sure if daddy got a small case or if his two days of suffering were just coincidental timing, but either way our family was miserable for weeks as it all played out. During this disgusting chapter in our lives, I have learned several things about gut-related viral infections.

Probably the biggest lesson for fighting rotavirus is there is nothing you can do. The infection has to run it’s course naturally over a period of one to two weeks. Vitamin C can actually make rotavirus worse, as this immune booster also loosens stool. This is the last thing you want when your baby already has bad diarrhea. Viral infections cannot be treated with antibiotics, so those are out too.

There are some homeopathic remedies that I am just now learning about which can aid in pain relief and recovery. As I am only in the beginning stages of learning about homeopathy myself I do not want to accidentally spread wrong information by making recommendations. Perhaps I will write another blog post about it sometime in the future when I am more confident in my research and have started using homeopathy for my family.

The most important thing to remember when dealing with rotavirus, or any sickness that involves copious amounts of puke and poop, is to keep the infected hydrated. Dehydration is dangerous for everyone, but it is especially worrisome in toddlers and infants because it is so easy for them to become dehydrated. If your baby is lethargic and has not been able to hold down fluids for 8 hours or food for 24 hours please take them to the doctor’s office or urgent care immediately. You baby will need IV fluids.

After vomiting Peaches did not want to drink anything, more than likely because her throat was sore and her tummy hurt. We got her to drink using hydrating teas. Her favorite was the Traditional Medicinals Organic Throat Coat with added lemon and Echinacea, but we also gave her Organic Nighty Night Tea and Organic Ginger with Chamomile Tea (both also from Traditional Medicinals). Each sippy cup had a small spoonful of local honey mixed in the tea for added sweetness. I found these three not only tasted good enough for her to want to drink despite hurting, but they helped sooth the symptoms – providing much needed relief.

Despite needing to let the infection run it’s course, there are things you can do to make the experience less awful for your baby. I found having Peach sleep on an incline (two fluffy pillows behind her back did the trick) made her less likely to get sick during the night, and seemed to help alleviate some of her stomach pain. We also had a humidifier with peppermint essential oil going every night. Keeping towels, wet wipes, and a full sippy cup beside the bed was a huge help as well.

Avoiding foods such as gluten, dairy, citrus, meats, and other products that promote loose stool or are hard to digest can help make the vomiting and diarrhea less severe. The most recommended diet for gastro-intestinal infections is called the B.R.A.T. diet, although as long as you are making sure your baby is only eating things that are easy to digest and pass the effects should be the same. The B.R.A.T. diet is recommended by pediatricians because the foods used are low in fiber, fat, and protein.

B – Bananas

R – Rice

A – Applesauce

T – Toast

We also gave Peach frozen organic fruit pops. They forced her to eat slowly while also keeping her hydrated.

I recommend investing in a good probiotic for your child as well. Since probiotics are made to aid in gut health, they are naturally great for gut-related infections. Peaches takes the Probiotic Gummies by Nutra Kids, which is the only reliable organic probiotic for children I have been able to find. If you have a probiotic you like better, or anything else you would like to comment on or suggest about fighting gut-related viral infections, please tell me about it in the comments! I would love to hear what you all think. 🙂

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