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Rehydration Drinks

Diarrhea and vomiting can cause your body to lose large amounts of water, nutrients, and essential minerals called electrolytes. This happens faster and is more serious in babies, young children, and older adults.

Rehydration drinks replace fluids and electrolytes. Plain water doesn't provide necessary nutrients or electrolytes and may not be absorbed with diarrhea.

Rehydration drinks don't make diarrhea or vomiting go away faster, but they can prevent serious dehydration from developing.

Oral rehydration solutions (ORSs), such as Pedialyte, are used to prevent or correct dehydration in young children. ORSs contain the right mix of salt, sugar, potassium, and other minerals to help replace lost fluids.

Adult rehydration drinks should not be used for babies and young children. 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

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerWilliam H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerH. Michael O'Connor, MD - Emergency Medicine
Last RevisedApril 15, 2013

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: April 15, 2013
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.