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How can I prevent my child from getting rotavirus?

A vaccine to help prevent rotavirus can be given to babies in 3 separate doses. Talk with your child’s doctor about the vaccine.

  • The vaccine is given by mouth.
  • It is usually given at 2, 4 and 6 months of age.
  • It can help prevent the disease about 98 percent of the time.
  • Babies who receive the vaccine are less likely to need to go to the
          hospital.
Rotavirus vaccine is the best way to prevent children from getting rotavirus. The vaccine is a liquid given by mouth, not a shot. The rotavirus vaccine protects children from the disease or limits the infection so it is a milder illness. Three doses of the vaccine are recommended. These are given at 2 months, 4 months, and 6 months of age. The three-dose series needs to be started by 12 weeks of age or earlier.

Just like any medicine, sometimes vaccines cause problems; however, getting the rotavirus vaccine is much safer than getting the disease. If you want more information you can ask your doctor or nurse or call your local health department.

It is easy to get infected with rotavirus if you touch items that are contaminated with stool (poop) and then touch your mouth area. Children can spread the virus when they forget to wash their hands after using the bathroom or before eating. Rotavirus can survive for days on surfaces and for hours on your hands. Rotavirus can be in the stool of an infected person for 10 days after the sickness starts. A good way to stop spreading the illness is to wash your hands. Follow these precautions:
  • Use disposable gloves when you change your child's diaper.
  • Wash your hands often, especially after changing diapers. Have other people who come in contact with your child do the same. Wash your hands for 15 to 30 seconds with soap and water after going to the bathroom, before eating, or when handling dirty linen and diapers. It is especially important to wash your hands before preparing food.
  • Clean and disinfect toys and other objects with Lysol, 409, or a similar cleaner.
The best way to prevent your child from getting rotavirus is to have your child immunized. It is an oral vaccine that is given at 2, 4, and 6 months of age. The vaccine has reduced the number of hospitalizations for rotavirus by 85%. Good hand hygiene is always recommended to prevent gastrointestinal infections as well.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.