Hydrating and Rehydrating When You Have Gastroenteritis

Description

When you have gastroenteritis, your body eliminates large quantities of water and mineral salts that are essential to the proper functioning of your body.

It is therefore important to hydrate yourself sufficiently and to replenish mineral salts to prevent dehydration and heal. To do this, you must drink more liquids, water for instance. If your child is being breast or bottle-fed, continue giving him or her the usual milk (breast milk, baby formula or whole milk). Both you and your child can also drink a rehydration solution. There are 2 types of rehydration solutions:

  • Commercial rehydration solutions – preferable
  • Homemade rehydration solutions – alternative

Commercial Rehydration Solutions

To rehydrate yourself, it is best to use a commercial rehydration solution such as Gastrolyte. Commercial rehydration solutions contain the ideal proportion of mineral salts your body needs to recover. They allow the body to:

  • Better absorb fluids, and therefore hydrate well
  • Replace mineral salts lost due to diarrhea or vomiting

These solutions are available over the counter at pharmacies.

Homemade Rehydration Solutions

Should you be unable to get a commercial rehydration solution, you can prepare a homemade solution. Mix the following ingredients:

  • 360 ml (12 oz.) unsweetened, pure orange juice
  • 600 ml (20 oz.) cooled boiled water 
  • 2.5 ml (1/2 tsp.) salt

You need to respect exactly the quantities indicated in order to avoid aggravating your condition.

Call Info-Santé 811 to inquire as to how much and when you should drink the solution. A nurse will tell you precisely what to do depending on your condition or that of your child.

Instructions for Rehydration and Using Rehydration Solutions

Follow the rehydration and dietary instructions that correspond to your symptoms:

Symptoms Rehydration Diet

Diarrhea without dehydration

  • Drink more liquids. You can drink water, but if you are not eating, also take a rehydrating solution. If your child is being breast or bottle-fed, he or she must drink the milk regularly given to him or her
  • If you are using a commercial rehydration solution, follow the instructions on the package
  • If you are using a homemade rehydration solution, call Info-Santé 811 to inquire as to how much and when you should drink the solution. A nurse will tell you precisely what to do depending on your condition or that of your child
  • If you or your child are vomiting, drink small amounts of liquid more often

Eat several small meals.

Refer to Foods to Eat When You Have Gastroenteritis to know which foods are best.

Diarrhea with dehydration (increased thirst, less urination than usual, dry mouth)

  • Use a rehydration solution. Call Info-Santé 811 to know how much and when you should drink the solution. A nurse will tell you precisely what to do depending on your condition or that of your child

Do not eat for about 3 to 4 hours.

When the vomiting subsides, start gradually eating again: consuming small amounts of food at a time, while eating more often then usual.

Refer to Foods to Eat When You Have Gastroenteritis to know which foods are best.

         

For People with Risk of Complications

If you or your child are people likely to experience complications, call Info-Santé 811. A nurse will give you rehydration and dietary instructions suited to you or your child’s condition.

Last update: September 21, 2017 1:14 PM

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