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Gastroenteritis: What Is Oral Rehydration Therapy?

Gastroenteritis and Oral Rehydration Therapy

Gastroenteritis: What Is Oral Rehydration Therapy?

Key Takeaways

• If your child hasn’t passed urine for more than twelve hours.
• If your kid is unusually sleepy and cranky.
• If your child refuses to drink water and is having diarrhea or vomiting.

Most dehydration cases don’t warrant medical attention. Most of them can be treated through drinking plenty of fluids like water, baby breast milk, and baby formula juices. However, if the condition (gastroenteritis) becomes worse or doesn’t improve, you can turn to Oral Rehydration Therapy (ORT). This therapy helps reduce the effects of prolonged dehydration as a result of continued vomiting and diarrhea.

What are the benefits of ORT?

Extreme dehydration can be treated using an intravenous line (IV), which helps in replacing the lost fluids. However, ORT is more effective than IV because it is not as traumatic for children as using an IV line since there is no need for needle insertions for the intravenous line or blood work. ORT can be easily administered in any setting, such as at home.

Oral Rehydration Solution (ORS): Get the Facts

An ORS is a special solution that contains a mixture of clean water, glucose, sodium, and a small amount of potassium as well as other electrolytes. The mixture helps in replacing the lost fluids as well as nutrients that are necessary for the body to function properly.

Where to get ORS?

ORS can be obtained from registered pharmacies. They can be purchased in pre-mixed bottles and as packaged powders, which should be mixed with clean water.

When to seek medical attention for a child suffering from dehydration?

You should seek emergency medication if:
  • Your child hasn’t passed urine for more than twelve hours
  • If your kid is unusually sleepy or cranky
  • If your child refuses to drink water
  • Has diarrhea and episodes of vomiting
  • If your kid continues to drink more fluid but still vomits

ORT is effective in treating dehydration that has been caused by gastroenteritis. ORT is the best alternative to intravenous therapy that can be administered in a wide range of settings. An oral rehydration solution (ORS) is normally purchased in a pre-mixed bottle and packaged powder. An oral rehydration solution is usually administered small and frequent amounts. If your condition doesn’t improve even after with ORT, seek medical attention.

What are the most common brands of ORS?

Some of the most common brands of ORS include Pedialyte, Infalyte, and Resol.

How to give ORS to your child

ORS is effective when given in small but frequent amounts. You can use a small spoon or a clean scooper to ensure that the first dosage is small. This will ensure that you child retains the ORS and minimize the chances of vomiting. After the first dose, slowly increase the dosage until the child is able to take the full dose. However, if your child refuses to take the ORS dose, you can squirt the solution in his/her mouth using a syringe.

How to re-introduce food to your child after recovering from gastroenteritis

You should commence feeding your child as soon as he/she has been rehydrated. It is advisable to introduce age-appropriate foods that have the most appropriate nutrition value. The foods should also reduce the duration of diarrhea. Moreover, it is recommended to continue breastfeeding your child through the treatment period if he/she has been dehydrated. For non-breastfed babies, provide undiluted formula based fluids.