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Self-Care at Home
Outpatient management of rotavirus infection is designed to correct mild dehydration and ensure tolerance of adequate maintenance fluids and nutrition during the resolution phase of the illness. Oral fluids are the mainstay for those with mild to moderate disease. Ad lib (nonrestricted intake) breast milk for infants is always encouraged. For infants for whom breast milk is not an option, a commercially prepared solution of water, sugar, and electrolytes (for example, Pedialyte) is the fluid of choice. Older toddlers and above may be offered an age-appropriate replacement fluid (for example, Gatorade). Once intestinal tolerance to these fluids has been established, a gradual reintroduction of age-appropriate solid fluids (including full-strength cow's milk) is reasonable. High-fat foods are often not well tolerated. Complex carbohydrates (vegetables/fruits), lean meat, and yogurt are generally acceptable food choices.
To limit the spread of illness at home or in an institutional setting (for example, day care), the importance of frequent hand washing with soap and water cannot be underestimated. Having separate diaper changing areas and immediate disposal of a soiled diaper in a sealed container are also imperative. In developing countries, water purification systems are paramount for controlling rotavirus infection.
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