Rehydration salts are used to replace salts and water that the body loses when you have dehydration. Find out how to take it safely and possible side effects.
Oral rehydration salts (ORS) are a mixture of electrolytes (salts), and carbohydrates (in the form of sugar), which are dissolved in water. They are used to replace salts and water that the body loses when you have dehydration caused by gastroenteritis, diarrhoea, or vomiting.
Unlike other fluids, the proportion of salts and sugar in an ORS matches what the body needs to recover.
Fizzy drinks, undiluted juices, tea, coffee and sports drinks are not suitable because of their high sugar content. High sugar content is likely to make diarrhoea worse.
Commercially-available ORS products can be bought from pharmacies and are often available in different flavours.
Home-made salt/sugar mixtures are used in developing countries if rehydration drinks are not available but they have to be made carefully, as too much salt can be dangerous for children.