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There is no antiviral drug to treat rotavirus infection. Antibiotic drugs will not help; this is because antibiotics fight against bacteria not viruses.

Rotavirus infection can cause severe vomiting and diarrhea. This can lead to dehydration (loss of body fluids). During rotavirus infection, infants and young children, older adults, and people with other illnesses are most at risk for dehydration.

Symptoms of dehydration in children and adults include

  • decrease in urination
  • dry mouth and throat
  • feeling dizzy when standing up

A dehydrated child may also cry with few or no tears and be unusually sleepy or fussy.

Dehydration can lead to other serious problems. Severe dehydration may require hospitalization for treatment with intravenous (IV) fluids (fluids given to the patient directly through their veins). The best way to protect against dehydration is to drink plenty of liquids (oral rehydration therapy). The most helpful fluids for this purpose are oral rehydration fluids (ORF)*.

Severe dehydration can be serious. If you think you or someone you are caring for is severely dehydrated, contact your doctor.


*Several products with ingredients similar to those in ORFs can be used to prevent or treat mild dehydration. These products—called oral rehydration solutions—are sold as pre-mixed fluids. Oral rehydration solutions that are commonly available in U.S. food and drug stores include Infalyte®, Kao Lectrolyte®, Naturalyte, Oralyte, and Pedialyte®. If you are unsure about which product to use or how to use these pre-mixed fluids, contact your doctor.

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