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Tips on How to Treat Rotavirus Naturally at Home

Last Updated Jul 05, 2023

Tips on How to Treat Rotavirus Naturally at Home

Rotavirus is a virus that causes viral gastroenteritis, which is characterized by diarrhoea and signs of dehydration in severe instances. It's the leading cause of severe diarrhoea in children worldwide, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Rotavirus virus may be spread through the stool of an infected person or animal. When rotavirus enters your body it can lead to fever, fatigue, nausea or vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhoea (sometimes with blood or mucus) and rapid dehydration as the virus attacks the epithelial cells of the intestinal walls. Severe dehydration can be serious if fluids are not replaced.

The most common rotavirus infections occur among infants who are a few weeks of age and young children under age five. Most children get rotavirus more than once before they reach adulthood. A child may have severe symptoms from rotavirus, but the illness is rarely deadly.

The rotavirus infection can be easily spread from person to person. If you come into contact with an infected person, it's only a matter of days before the symptoms set in. Even if you don't touch an infected person, you can still get the virus by touching a contaminated surface or object like door handles or toys.

Conventional Treatment Methods for Rotavirus

While rotavirus infections often resolve on their own, medical treatments can play a crucial role in managing symptoms, preventing complications, and promoting a swift recovery. Here, below, are evidence-based medical interventions commonly employed in the treatment of rotavirus.

Oral Rehydration Therapy (ORT)

  • Oral rehydration therapy is a cornerstone of medical treatment for rotavirus. It involves the consumption of oral rehydration solutions (ORS) to replenish lost fluids and electrolytes.
  • ORS solutions contain a precise balance of salts and sugars that enhance the absorption of water by the intestines, promoting rehydration.
  • This approach is particularly vital in preventing dehydration, a common complication of rotavirus infection.

Intravenous Fluids

  • In severe cases of rotavirus infection, especially when dehydration is significant or persistent, hospitalisation and intravenous (IV) fluids may be required.
  • IV fluids deliver fluids and electrolytes directly into the bloodstream, ensuring rapid rehydration and electrolyte balance.
  • Close monitoring of hydration status and other vital signs is performed during hospitalisation.

Antiemetic Medications

  • Antiemetic medications may be prescribed to manage severe vomiting, which can contribute to dehydration and discomfort.
  • These medications work by reducing nausea and vomiting, promoting overall wellbeing and aiding in the maintenance of hydration.


  • Fever is a common symptom of rotavirus infection. Over-the-counter antipyretic medications, such as paracetamol (acetaminophen), can help reduce fever and alleviate associated discomfort.
  • It is crucial to follow appropriate dosage guidelines based on age and weight, and consult a healthcare professional for infants and children.

Antibiotics (in specific cases)

  • Rotavirus is a viral infection, and antibiotics are generally ineffective against viruses. However, in rare cases, bacterial co-infections or complications may occur alongside rotavirus.
  • If a bacterial infection is suspected or diagnosed, antibiotics may be prescribed to target the secondary bacterial infection.

Hospitalisation and Intensive Care

  • In severe cases of rotavirus infection with significant dehydration, hospitalisation may be necessary.
  • Hospital-based treatment ensures close monitoring of hydration status, electrolyte balance and other complications.
  • Intensive care measures, such as respiratory support, may be required for critically ill patients.

The Downsides of Medical Treatment Methods: Considerations and Limitations

Medical interventions are crucial in preventing complications and promoting recovery from rotavirus. However, it is important to acknowledge that they also come with certain downsides and limitations. Understanding these factors can help individuals make informed decisions about their healthcare options.

Let's go through some considerations regarding the downsides of medical treatment methods for rotavirus.

1. Potential Side Effects

Medical treatments for rotavirus, such as oral rehydration therapy (ORT), intravenous fluids and antiemetic medications, may carry the risk of side effects. ORT may cause nausea, bloating or abdominal discomfort in some individuals. Intravenous fluids can lead to complications such as infection, electrolyte imbalances or vein irritation. On the other hand, antiemetic medications may cause drowsiness or other adverse effects.

2. Antibiotic Ineffectiveness

Rotavirus is a viral infection, and antibiotics have no direct effect on viruses. They are not effective in treating the rotavirus itself. Antibiotics may only be considered in rare cases when there is a secondary bacterial infection or complication alongside rotavirus. Overuse or unnecessary prescription of antibiotics can contribute to antibiotic resistance, a growing global health concern.

3. Limited Impact on Duration and Course of Illness

Medical treatments primarily focus on managing symptoms and preventing complications but do not alter the course or duration of the rotavirus infection. While these treatments alleviate discomfort and promote recovery, they do not shorten the overall duration of the illness. Rotavirus infections generally resolve on their own within a few days with or without medical interventions.

4. Cost and Accessibility

Some medical treatments, particularly hospitalisation and intensive care, can be costly and may not be readily accessible to everyone. The availability of intravenous fluids, antiemetic medications and other medical interventions may vary depending on factors such as healthcare system, geographic location and resources.

5. Individual Variability

Different individuals may respond differently to medical treatments. The effectiveness and tolerance of treatments can vary based on age, overall health and other individual factors. Treatment outcomes may not be uniform for all individuals, and some may experience limited relief or unexpected reactions.

Why Consult a Healthcare Professional Before Trying Natural Remedies for Rotavirus?

When dealing with the symptoms and effects of rotavirus, it is understandable that individuals may seek natural remedies to alleviate their discomfort. While natural remedies can sometimes offer relief, it is crucial to prioritise your health and consult a healthcare professional before embarking on any treatment journey.

Here are some compelling reasons why seeking expert advice is essential:

Expert Guidance and Assessment

  • Healthcare professionals possess the necessary knowledge and expertise to accurately diagnose rotavirus and determine its severity.
  • They can assess your individual health condition, taking into account factors such as age, pre-existing medical conditions and overall wellbeing.
  • By seeking their guidance, you can receive personalised recommendations tailored to your specific needs.

Evidence-Based Approaches

  • Healthcare professionals stay updated with the latest research and evidence-based practices.
  • They are aware of the most effective treatments and can provide insights into the safety and efficacy of natural remedies for rotavirus.
  • Relying on evidence-based approaches helps ensure that you are making informed decisions about your health.

Potential Risks and Interactions

  • Natural remedies, although often perceived as safe, can still carry risks and potential interactions with other medications or existing health conditions.
  • Healthcare professionals can assess the safety profile of natural remedies and identify any potential adverse effects or contraindications.
  • They can provide guidance on proper dosage, frequency and duration of use, reducing the risk of complications.

Monitoring and Follow-up

  • Rotavirus can lead to dehydration and other complications, especially in young children and vulnerable individuals.
  • Healthcare professionals can monitor your condition, track your progress and intervene promptly if necessary.
  • Regular follow-up visits allow for adjustments in treatment plans and ensure that you are on the right path to recovery.

Holistic Approach

  • Healthcare professionals consider your overall wellbeing and take a holistic approach to treatment.
  • They can offer guidance on proper nutrition, hydration and lifestyle modifications that complement any recommended natural remedies.
  • By addressing the underlying causes and promoting overall health, they contribute to a more comprehensive and effective healing process.

It is vital to consult a healthcare professional before attempting any treatment for rotavirus. Their expertise, evidence-based knowledge and ability to personalise treatment plans ensure that you receive the most appropriate care for your specific condition. Remember, prioritising your health and seeking professional guidance are essential steps towards a safe and effective recovery from rotavirus.

Natural Therapies for Treating Rotavirus at Home

There are no medications that can treat rotavirus infection itself; you must support the body through it. There are natural therapies that can help with severe dehydration, which is a common complication of gastroenteritis in children if not addressed promptly. Common home remedies for rotavirus include rest and plenty of fluids as preventing dehydration is the goal.


Rest is a must if you or your child is diagnosed with rotavirus disease. Don't allow them to go to school until their bowel movements are solid again.

Increased fluid intake

Besides drinking plenty of liquids, such as water, juice, clear broth and ginger ale, an oral rehydration solution can help with acute gastroenteritis, which lasts a week or two. Oral rehydration therapy is used to replace excessive water loss due to vomiting and diarrhoea. Intravenous rehydration therapy may be recommended depending on the severity of the patient's condition. If they are suffering from severe gastroenteritis or are too weak to drink from a cup, intravenous fluids may be administered by a healthcare provider. An oral rehydration solution can be bought over the counter or made at home by combining 6 teaspoons sugar and half a teaspoon salt into one litre of water. Take your time when drinking fluids. Don't gulp them down quickly. Take a sip and put the cup down to let it go down before taking another sip. 

Eat more fibre

Getting too little fiber in your diet can make rotavirus worse. Get at least 25 grams of fibre per day from fruits, vegetables or whole grains such as brown rice and oatmeal.

Ginger tea

Ginger is known to soothe the gastrointestinal tract by supporting peristalsis, or muscle contractions in the digestive system. It also has anti-inflammatory properties that may ease rotavirus symptoms. Try making ginger tea by adding 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger to 2 cups of hot water and drinking several sips an hour until you feel better. Ginger tea with honey helps reduce stomach pain as well. Do not take this remedy if diarrhoea and vomiting are severe enough to cause dehydration. 

Vitamin A

This vitamin keeps your immune system working properly when you have rotavirus infection. It will help you fight off the illness more easily. It's best to avoid getting extra amounts of vitamin A in supplements. Ask your healthcare provider how much vitamin A-rich foods to eat per day, such as carrots, squash, tomatoes, papaya, mangoes, and other orange, yellow and green vegetables.

Chamomile tea

This calming tea has many beneficial effects. Just as it can address dehydration during the stomach flu, chamomile tea can also effectively address gastroenteritis in children and adults alike. It has anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic properties, which assist to relieve the cramping that comes with severe diarrhoea.

A warm bath with Epsom salts

If you are dehydrated, taking a warm bath with 1 to 2 cups of Epsom salt can help rehydrate your body, ease muscle aches and make you feel better overall.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C fights off viruses, so it may be able to prevent the rotavirus disease or its symptoms. Try taking 1,000 milligrams of vitamin C per day to keep rotavirus at bay.

Valerian root

Valerian root can help you rest better if rotavirus is disrupting your sleep. Try drinking valerian tea or taking valerian tablets before bed for the best effect. Don't drive after using this herbal remedy because it may cause drowsiness until morning.

Betel leaf

Betel leaves can be chewed or eaten to reduce pain and fever from rotavirus. Although there haven't been any studies testing this remedy, betel leaves seem to work better than a placebo in small trials for this diarrheal disease.


Probiotics are live microorganisms that help maintain the balance of good bacteria in the digestive tract. The effects of probiotics in children with gastroenteritis have been promising, reducing the duration of diarrhoea and other rotavirus symptoms. Also, it has been shown to support Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG, a friendly gut bacteria that treats and prevents gastrointestinal disorders like diarrhoea.

What can you do to prevent rotavirus?

Good hygiene practices at home and in public places are the best way to reduce the spread of rotaviruses and avoid catching acute gastroenteritis. Wash your hands regularly, especially after using the toilet and before preparing or eating your meals. Teach your kids to wash their hands often with soap and water, especially after using the toilet and before eating.

If you have been sick with rotavirus or another viral infection, don't prepare food or care for young children until at least 24 hours after your symptoms have subsided because you could pass the infection to those around you.

Rotavirus vaccines are available to prevent rotavirus disease in infants and children over 6 months of age. It reinforces the intestinal microbiota and makes it less vulnerable to viral gastroenteritis.

For severe gastroenteritis or rotavirus infection that persists despite home care, a doctor may prescribe antibiotics or antiviral medication.

What Research Says About Rotavirus Home Treatments

  1. Probiotics: Clinical trials have demonstrated the potential benefits of probiotics in managing rotavirus infections. A study published in the journal Pediatrics found that the administration of specific strains of probiotics, such as Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG, reduced the duration and severity of diarrhea caused by rotavirus. Another trial published in the Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition showed that a combination of Lactobacillus rhamnosus and Bifidobacterium lactis reduced the duration of diarrhea and promoted faster recovery in children.

  2. Herbal Remedies: Certain herbal remedies have been studied for their potential anti-rotavirus properties. A study published in the journal Virology Journal investigated the effect of herbal extracts, including ginger, turmeric and pomegranate, on rotavirus in vitro. The results showed that these extracts exhibited antiviral activity against rotavirus, suggesting their potential as complementary treatments. However, further research is needed to evaluate their efficacy in clinical settings.

  3. Oral Rehydration Solutions (ORS): ORS is a key component in managing rotavirus-induced dehydration. A randomised controlled trial published in The Lancet compared the efficacy of standard ORS with a reduced osmolarity ORS in treating rotavirus diarrhea in children. The study found that the reduced osmolarity ORS was more effective in reducing stool output and rehydrating children, leading to faster recovery.

  4. Zinc Supplementation: Zinc is an essential micronutrient that plays a crucial role in the immune system. Clinical trials have shown promising results regarding the efficacy of zinc supplementation in managing rotavirus diarrhea. A study published in The New England Journal of Medicine found that zinc supplementation reduced the duration and severity of diarrhea in children infected with rotavirus.

Originally published on Dec 27, 2021

FAQs About Treating Rotavirus at Home

What is the fastest way to get rid of rotavirus?

Although there is no specific treatment for rotavirus, increasing fluid intake and using oral rehydration therapy can help it go away in a week or two. In addition to drinking plenty of water, getting lots of sleep and eating succulent fruits can help treat this viral infection.

What can I give my baby for rotavirus?

Water, breastfeeding, and electrolytes should be provided to rotavirus-infected infants. Give fruits and vegetables to a youngster who can eat solid food and has an appetite.

Does breastfeeding prevent rotavirus?

Yes it does. Researchers found that breastfeeding protects babies from rotaviruses and lowers their risk of developing long-term diarrhoea.

Can over-the-counter medications help treat rotavirus at home?

Over-the-counter medications typically aim to manage symptoms, such as diarrhoea or fever, but they do not treat the underlying rotavirus infection. It is important to consult a healthcare professional before using any medications, especially for infants and young children.

What foods should be avoided when managing rotavirus at home?

It is advisable to avoid foods that are heavy, greasy or difficult to digest, as they can exacerbate symptoms. Additionally, it's best to steer clear of dairy products, spicy foods and sugary beverages until the symptoms subside.

Is it safe to administer probiotics to children with rotavirus at home?

While probiotics can be beneficial for managing rotavirus symptoms, it is essential to consult a healthcare professional before administering them to children, as the dosage and specific strains may vary based on the child's age and condition.

How is rotavirus spread from person to person?

Rotavirus is primarily spread through the faecal-oral route, meaning it can be transmitted when an infected person's stool comes into contact with the mouth of another person. This can occur through contaminated surfaces, objects or food.

How can I prevent the spread of rotavirus within my home?

To minimise the risk of spreading rotavirus, ensure thorough handwashing with soap and water, especially after using the bathroom or changing diapers. Disinfect frequently-touched surfaces, encourage sick individuals to stay isolated and avoid sharing utensils or personal items within the household.

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