Could your baby be dehydrated?

Vomiting and diarrhoea - the signs of rotavirus - could be putting your baby at risk of dehydration.


Rotavirus is the most common cause of diarrhoea and vomiting (gastroenteritis) in children under five years old, and almost all children will have suffered from a bout of it by the end of their first year at school.


Rotavirus is highly contagious and can survive for days on items like toys, door handles and furniture. Infections peak in winter and early spring.

But would you know how to spot it – and what to do about it?

The symptoms vary but babies and children have been known to experience up to 20 bouts of diarrhoea in just 24 hours.

Eighty percent of infant sufferers develop some kind of dehydration as a result.

A website, has been set up to help parents spot the signs of rotavirus infection and dehydration.

If you suspect your baby is dehydrated, look out for the following symptoms:

  • tiredness
  • clammy hands and feet
  • dry mouth, lips and/or eyes
  • sunken eyes and/or fontanelle
  • infrequent or dark urine
  • headaches

Water loss caused by retrovirus can be very dangerous for babies and small children because such a large proportion of their bodies is made up of water.

Treat dehydration by keeping fluid levels up. And consult your GP if you are worried about your child: you may be offered an oral rehydration solution to replenish lost fluids. Children suffering severe dehydration may need to be admitted to hospital.


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