The most effective, least expensive way to manage diarrhoeal dehydration.
Do-It-Yourself .... Encouraging self-reliance
To prevent too much liquid being lost from the child's body, an effective oral rehydration solution can be made using ingredients found in almost every household. One of these drinks should be given to the child every time a watery stool is passed.
Ideally these drinks (preferably those that have been boiled) should contain:
starches and/or sugars as a source of glucose and energy,
some sodium and
preferably some potassium.
The following traditional remedies make highly effective oral rehydration solutions and are suitable drinks to prevent a child from losing too much liquid during diarrhoea:
Gruels (diluted mixtures of cooked cereals and water)
Rice water - Congee
A very suitable and effective simple solution for rehydrating a child can also be made by using salt and sugar, if these ingredients are available.
If possible, add 1/2 cup orange juice or some mashed banana to improve the taste and provide some potassium.
Molasses and other forms of raw sugar can be used instead of white sugar, and these contain more potassium than white sugar.
If none of these drinks is available, other alternatives are:
Fresh fruit juice
Green coconut water
If nothing else is available, give water from the cleanest possible source - (if possible brought to the boil and then cooled).
Home made recipe
How to prepare One (1) Litre Oral Rehydration Solution [ORS] using Sugar, Salt and Water at Home
Download and Print Instructions:
Home made Oral Rehydration Salts (ORS) for treating dehydration caused by diarrhoea
Place 6 level teaspoons of sugar
a half level teaspoon of salt
into one litre of clean drinking water
(or boiled water and then cooled)
- 1 litre = 5 cupfuls (each cup about 200 ml.)
Feed with a spoon
Be very careful to mix the correct amounts, as too much sugar can make the diarrhoea worse, and too much salt can be extremely harmful to the child. If the mixture is made a little too diluted no harm can be done and there is very little loss of effectiveness.
Encourage the child to drink as much as possible.
A child under the age of two needs at least a quarter to a half of a large cup of the ORS drink after each watery stool.
A child aged two or older needs at least a half to a whole large cup of the ORS drink after each watery stool.
Diarrhoea usually stops in three or four days. The real danger is the loss of liquid and nutrients from the child's body, which can cause dehydration and malnutrition.