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Diarrhoea Kills a Child Every 26 Seconds

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Solutions: The most effective, least expensive way to manage diarrhoeal dehydration

Oral Rehydration Salrs [ORS]: A simple solution

A very suitable and effective simple solution for rehydrating a child can be made by using salt, sugar and water.

Molasses and other forms of raw sugar can be used instead of white sugar, and these contain more potassium than white sugar. Other solutions: Breastmilk, gruels (diluted mixtures of cooked cereals and water), carrot soup, rice water - congee, fresh fruit juice, weak tea, green coconut water or water from the cleanest possible source brought to the boil and then cooled.

Oral Rehydration Salts [ORS]

Page links
How does ORT work? | 10 Things you should know about Rehydrating a child On-site links
Oral Rehydration Salts | Home Made | Packaged
What to do if Dehydration Occurs
The Special Spoon from TALC - Teaching-aids At Low Cost
Oral Rehydration Therapy now helps save more than 1 million children's lives each year

Worldwide Manufacturers and Suppliers
of commercially packaged Oral Rehydration Salts and Solutions and Rice-based Solutions

Most often, diarrhoea kills a child by dehydration, which means that too much liquid has been drained out of the child's body. So as soon as diarrhoea starts, it is essential to give the child extra drinks to replace the liquid being lost. Oral Rehydration Therapy (ORT) is the cheap, simple and effective way to treat dehydration caused by diarrhoea. When diarrhoea occurs, essential fluids and salts are lost from the body and must be quickly replaced. Many of the millions of children who die every year in developing countries from diarrhoea could be saved if they were given ORT promptly. ORT is the giving of fluid by mouth to prevent and/or correct the dehydration that is a result of diarrhoea. As soon as diarrhoea begins, treatment using home remedies to prevent dehydration must be started. An effective solution can be made using ingredients found in almost every household. This includes fluids at home such as tea, soups, rice water and fruit juices to prevent dehydration, and the use of Oral Rehydration Salts (ORS) solution to treat dehydration. Made up with clean water the ORS drink contains the main elements that are lost from the body during diarrhoea. It is effective in treating dehydration resulting from all types of acute diarrhoeal diseases. One of these drinks should be given to the child every time a watery stool is passed. If you have diarrhoea, continue to drink the solution. The fluids will not increase the diarrhoea. During or after treatment of dehydration, whatever is causing the diarrhoea, vomiting, or other symptoms should also be treated. Many countries now have diarrhoeal disease control programmes, but ORT is still not nearly as widely used as it should be and more effective information dissemination and promotion of ORT is necessary. The prevention of diarrhoea depends upon improvements in water supply, sanitation, and hygiene. But in the meantime, the majority of deaths from diarrhoeal dehydration can be cheaply prevented by oral rehydration therapy (ORT).

How does ORT work?

Acute diarrhea normally only lasts a few days. ORT does not stop the diarrhoea, but it replaces the lost fluids and essential salts thus preventing or treating dehydration and reducing the danger. The glucose contained in ORS solution enables the intestine to absorb the fluid and the salts more efficiently. ORT alone is an effective treatment for 90-95% of patients suffering from acute watery diarrhoea, regardless of cause, This makes intravenous drip therapy unnecessary in all but the most severe cases.

10 Things you should know about Rehydrating a child.

  1. Wash your hands with soap and water before preparing solution.
  2. Prepare a solution, in a clean pot, by mixing - Half (1/2) teaspoon Salt and Six (6) teaspoons sugar
    - 1 packet of Oral Rehydration Salts (ORS)
    - with one litre of clean drinking or boiled water (after cooled) Stir the mixture till all the contents dissolve.
  3. Wash your hands and the baby's hands with soap and water before feeding solution.
  4. Give the sick child as much of the solution as it needs, in small amounts frequently.
  5. Give child alternately other fluids - such as breast milk and juices.
  6. Continue to give solids if child is four months or older.
  7. If the child still needs ORS after 24 hours, make a fresh solution.
  8. ORS does not stop diarrhoea. It prevents the body from drying up. The diarrhoea will stop by itself.
  9. If child vomits, wait ten minutes and give it ORS again. Usually vomiting will stop.
  10. If diarrhoea increases and /or vomiting persists, take child over to a health clinic.

Someone with symptoms of severe dehydration needs to go to an Emergency Room or other health care facility to get intravenous fluids (fluids given directly into the veins through a needle) if possible.

updated: 23 August, 2019