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, and people who have chronic illnesses.
Rehydration drinks replace fluids and electrolytes. Plain water doesn't provide necessary nutrients or electrolytes and may not be absorbed with diarrhea.
Oral rehydration solutions (ORSs), such as Pedialyte, are used to treat dehydration in 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, if an ORS is not available. 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:
Medical Review:William H. Blahd Jr. MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine & Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine & H. Michael O'Connor MD - Emergency Medicine