Diarrhea Treatment – What is Oral Rehydration Therapy?

Oral rehydration therapy (ORT) is known as a safer, less expensive, and easier alternative to help to treat the dehydration that often occurs during an episode of diarrhea. A liquid solution that contains a sugar combined with electrolytes (sodium, potassium, chloride) that are lost in children suffering from vomiting and diarrhea.

There are numerous forms of rehydration solution available nowadays. Parents should check them with a healthcare provider to determine which solution is appropriate. A child who is moderately or severely dehydrated should be examined and evaluated by a healthcare provider. A parent may offer oral rehydration solution (ORS), but children are often too sick and require professional evaluation and treatment.

Keep in mind that ORT does not totally cure diarrhea, but it is integral in treating dehydration that often occurs during diarrhea. ORS can be purchased at most grocery stores and pharmacies without a prescription. The widely available brands of ORS are Pedialyte®, Infalyte®, and ReVital®. Beverages are not recommended for use as ORT in children with diarrhea. In addition, gelatin, tea, rice water, fruit juices are not recommended for use.

Parents or guardian may prepare ORS recipes at home; this treatment may be given to a child who is mildly dehydrated, rejecting to eat, or has vomiting and diarrhea. If necessary, the solutions can be given in small amounts by spoon over three to four hours. You must consult a pediatrician because he or she will provide specific instructions for oral rehydration to his or her patients. First off, you should measure out the total amount to be given with a regular medicine syringe or measuring spoon or cup, rather than a usual cup or spoon. If your child refuses to drink or vomits immediately after drinking the solution, you should monitor him or her closely for worsening dehydration. Children who are not dehydrated may drink it after every episode of vomiting to avoid dehydration.



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