If there is mild dehydration, one needs to drink enough liquid to replace the fluids lost. Also, the electrolytes need to be replaced. Drinking sips of water slowly, along with eating a balanced diet, high in salt, will replace fluids and salts lost. Nonprescription medicines are available that help replenish fluids and electrolytes. Fluids and electrolytes can be replaced by drinking oral rehydration solutions (ORS). Packets of oral rehydration salts are widely available. One needs to just mix the contents of a packet with 1 litre of drinking water.
An oral rehydration solution can be made at home using the following recipe: To 1 litre of drinking water or boiled water, add the following:
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda (bicarbonate of soda)
If baking soda is not available, add another 1/4 teaspoon of salt. If possible, add 1/2 cup orange juice or some mashed banana to improve the taste and provide some potassium. Drink sips of the ORS every 5 minutes until urination becomes normal. Adults and older children should drink at least 3 litres of ORS a day until they are well. If there is vomiting, keep trying to drink the ORS.
In case of severe dehydration, one needs to go to an emergency room or other health care facility to get intravenous (IV) fluids. If possible , continue drinking the ORS too.