Dehydration - Home Treatment
In the early stages, you may be
able to correct
mild to moderate dehydration with home treatment
measures. It is important to control fluid losses and replace lost
Adults and children age 12 and older
If you become
mildly to moderately dehydrated while working outside or exercising:
- Stop your activity and rest.
out of direct sunlight and lie down in a cool spot, such as in the shade or an
- Prop up your feet.
- Take off any
- Drink a rehydration drink, water, juice, or sports
drink to replace fluids and minerals. Drink 2 qt (2 L) of cool liquids over
the next 2 to 4 hours. You should drink at least 10 glasses of liquid a day to
replace lost fluids. You can make an inexpensive rehydration drink at home. But
do not give this homemade drink to children younger than 12. Measure all ingredients precisely. Small variations can make the
drink less effective or even harmful. Mix the following:
- 1 quart (950 mL) water
- ½ teaspoon (2.5 g) table salt
- 6 teaspoons (30 g) sugar
Rest and take it easy for 24 hours, and continue to drink a
lot of fluids. Although you will probably start feeling better within just a
few hours, it may take as long as a day and a half to completely replace the
fluid that you lost.
Children ages 1 through 11
- Make sure your child is drinking often.
Frequent, small amounts work best.
- For children with dehydration,
an oral rehydration solution (ORS) or plain water (if the child is eating food) may be used to replace lost
- Allow your child to drink as much fluid as he or she wants.
Encourage your child to
drink extra fluids or suck on flavored ice pops, such as Popsicles. Children
ages 4 to 10 should drink at least 6 to 10 glasses of liquids
to replace lost fluids.
- Cereal mixed with milk or water may also be
used to replace lost fluids.
Newborns and babies younger than 1 year of age
dehydration develops to replace lost fluids. Offer
fluids to your baby often.
- If you breast-feed your baby, nurse him or her
- If you use a bottle to feed your baby, the amount of
fluid you normally use in the formula should be enough to replace lost fluids.
Check with your child's doctor if you think you need to feed your baby more
- Use an
oral rehydration solution (ORS) if mild or moderate dehydration develops. The
amount of ORS your baby needs depends on his or her weight and how dehydrated
he or she is. You can give the ORS in a dropper, spoon, or
- If your baby has started eating cereal, you may replace
lost fluids with cereal. You also may feed your baby strained bananas and
mashed potatoes if your child has had these foods before.
Symptoms to watch for during home treatment
Call your doctor if any of the following occur during home
- More serious
- Decreased alertness
- You become dizzy or lightheaded, or you feel like you might
faint when you rise from lying to sitting or from sitting to
- Decreased urination develops.
- Symptoms become
more severe or frequent.