Preventing dehydration after watery stool with oral rehydration therapy

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Dehydration is a major cause of death after several episodes of watery stool. Dehydration can be prevented by starting the affected individual on a special fluid given through the mouth(oral rehydration solution) immediately watery stool is noticed at home. This will help to reduce the risk of developing complications and death from severe dehydration.

What is Oral rehydration therapy?

This means giving special fluid to a person through the mouth. It is usually given to prevent or treat dehydration. One major cause of dehydration in our environment is passage of watery stool and if fluid is not given on time to replace what is being lost, it can lead to death.

What are the different types of fluid used in oral rehydration?

  1. Oral rehydration solution
  2. Salt sugar solution

How are these solutions prepared?

Good hygiene should be maintained when preparing these solutions so as not to worsen the watery stool. Ensure you wash your hands and that of the person passing the stool and wash all the equipment to be used before preparing the solutions.

Preparing Oral rehydration solution

To prepare this, you will need a clean container, a long spoon to stir the solution, oral rehydration salt( this has been made in sachet and is being sold in chemist shops and pharmacy, measuring cup and 1 litre of clean water.

Pour 1 litre of clean water in the container, open the oral rehydration salt sachet and add it to the water. Mix the solution and give the affected person to drink.

Preparing salt sugar solution

To prepare this, you will need a clean container, sugar, salt, a small spoon( teaspoon) to measure, a long spoon to stir, measuring cup and 1 litre of clean water.

Pour 1 litre of clean water in a container,  measure 6 level teaspoon of sugar and add it to the water, add half a teaspoon of salt to the mixture. Mix the solution with the long spoon and give the individual to drink.

How is it given?

Oral rehydration therapy should be started as soon as watery stool is noticed. It should be given in small quantity at regular intervals continuously. It is worthy of note that you should not give this fluid with feeding bottle as this can worsen the watery stool. It is advisable to give the individual to drink via a cup. Cup and spoon can be used for children who can not drink directly from a cup.

What are the benefits of Oral rehydration therapy?

It helps to prevent severe dehydration which can necessitate hospital admission. It also reduces the risk of kidney failure from severe dehydration. Lastly, it reduces the risk of death.

Contraindications to Oral rehydration therapy

Knowing when to seek help is essential when caring for a person passing watery stool. In some cases, the individual may need to take fluid through the vein rather than via the mouth in other to save life. Ensure you visit the nearest health facility if you notice any of these:

  • Persistent vomiting . An individual vomiting persistently may not be able to take oral solutions and if not taken to the health facility as soon as possible may become severely dehydrated.
  • An individual who does not seem to be improving despite oral solutions should be taken to the nearest health facility.


Taking prompt action by giving oral rehydration therapy to a person passing watery stool may help to prevent and treat dehydration which in turn helps prevent death. You also need to note that good hygiene is very important while preparing these solutions so as not to worsen the disease process. If a person does not seem to be improving despite your therapy, do not hesitate to take the individual to a health facility.


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Dr Kay
About Dr Kay 58 Articles
As a physician, I love to give answers to several questions bothering people, educating them on how to be healthy, breaking down what their present condition is all about and counselling them on how to manage their condition.

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