Self-help: Preventing Dehydration

For normal body functioning, the body’s water and salt content must be kept at a constant level. During an attack of diarrhoea or vomiting, the body can become dehydrated due to loss of large amounts of fluids and salts. Babies, children, and elderly people are particularly vulnerable to dehydration, which can be reversed or prevented by following these simple measures:

  • Drink plenty of fluids every 1–2 hours, while symptoms last. Choose fluids such as dilute orange juice, weak sweet tea, or rehydration solution, which is available over the counter as a powder that you reconstitute.

  • Do not give children milk because it may perpetuate the diarrhoea. However, if a breast-feeding baby is affected, continue to breast-feed and give the baby additional fluids.

  • Stay out of the sun and try to keep yourself cool in order to prevent further loss of body fluids in sweat.

From the 2010 revision of the Complete Home Medical Guide © Dorling Kindersley Limited.

The subjects, conditions and treatments covered in this encyclopaedia are for information only and may not be covered by your insurance product should you make a claim.

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