How to Make Your Own Rehydration Solution
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Gastroenteritis occurs frequently in children, and knowing how to make your own rehydration solution is useful in replacing lost water and sodium. Oral rehydration solutions have the potential to save lives, and are simple to prepare.
Understanding the need for rehydration
Babies and toddlers who are vomiting or have diarrhoea lose fluids and salts, which leads to dehydration. Becoming dehydrated is dangerous for anyone, but especially for little ones. Signs of dehydration in babies and toddlers include sleepiness and irritability. Changes in skin elasticity and sunken eyes are more worrying signs. Mild cases of dehydration are often treated with oral rehydration solutions that come in packets or sachets and are mixed with water. These solutions contain salt and sugar, and sometimes other minerals, and aim to replace lost fluid and electrolytes.
Making your own rehydration solution at home
It is essential to use clean water if you make your own oral rehydration solution, and, if you are unsure, it’s best to boil the water and let it cool before you prepare your solution. To make the rehydration solution, add six teaspoons of sugar and half a teaspoon of salt to one litre of water and mix well. Babies should have between a quarter and half a cup, or half a cup for every loose stool. Children over the age of two should have one cup for every loose stool. If you are breastfeeding, breastmilk is excellent for rehydration and you should breastfeed on demand.
Seeking medical attention
Anyone who suspects that their baby or toddler is dehydrated is advised to rehydrate to the best extent possible and seek medical care. Babies and toddlers struggle more than adults to handle changes in water and electrolyte balance, and the consequences of dehydration in a young child can be very serious. Many cases are managed at home, but if more severe dehydration is present your child may need admission for monitoring and rehydration therapy.
The information in this article is intended for general purposes only. If you have any concerns about your health or the health of your child, you should always consult with a healthcare professional.