Pedialyte is well known for helping hydrate babies and toddlers. But you might be thinking: I’m an adult! Can I use Pedialyte for dehydration, too?
Here’s how Pedialyte can help both adults *and* children.
Is Pedialyte good for dehydration?
Yes, Pedialyte can be helpful for combatting dehydration. And it works for adults, too! It contains water (super important for hydration) but also contains potassium, chloride, zinc, and a little sugar. All of these ingredients work together to restore your bod’s fluid balance.
You can find Pedialyte with the baby food or baby medications at grocery and drug stores. But if you can’t find it (or you’re not up for running to the store) here are some solid substitutes:
- plain ol’ water
- a commercial sports drink
- any drinks that don’t upset your stomach (try to avoid caffeine and alcohol)
If you are so dehydrated you faint, feel confused, or have rapid heart rate or breathing, get to the emergency room. Dehydration can be life threatening.
The human body is a water balancing machine. It uses complex mechanisms to keep the right levels of fluid and electrolytes in your cells, blood, and all the spaces in between. You can lose fluid through your skin (through sweat), lungs (by breath), kidneys (by urination), and gastrointestinal tract (by diarrhea or vomiting).
There are lots of situations that could lead to dehydration, including:
- excessive sweating
- excessive urination (because of medication or illness)
- not drinking enough hydrating fluids
- drinking alcohol
- an inability to notice thirst
- hot temperatures
- burns on your skin
- skin conditions
- taking diuretics (water pills) or laxatives
Dehydration can be more common for certain groups of people, including:
Signs of dehydration in adults
Your body will send you signs that you’re getting low on fluids. Symptoms of dehydration include:
Dehydration can affect you in other ways, too. Your performance isn’t usually impaired by mild dehydration if you’re a healthy adult, but your mood can be affected. If you’re mildly dehydrated, you may feel sleepy or just crappier in general.
Signs of dehydration in children
A research review showed that children and older people are even more vulnerable to cognitive impairment with dehydration. For example, mildly dehydrated school children have difficulties with attention, memory, or executive function.
Watch for these symptoms of dehydration in small children:
- dry mouth
- crying, but no tears
- no wet diapers in 3 hours
- high fever
- unusually sleepy
- sunken eyes
While extreme dehydration isn’t common in healthy adults who have access to water, it can be life threatening if it occurs. Here are symptoms that your dehydration has become a medical emergency.
- no urination
- rapid heart rate
- rapid breathing
If you or someone you know is experiencing these symptoms, head to the emergency room. Doctors can treat dehydration by replacing water and balancing electrolytes directly through an intravenous (IV). They can also identify the underlying cause of dehydration.
Let your doctor know if you have heart failure or kidney disease so they can take precautions to not rehydrate too quickly.
Pedialyte is a great way to address dehydration in both children and adults.
It can help you hydrate when you’re sick
It’s a source of fluid, minerals, and carbohydrates that tastes good and shouldn’t upset your stomach. In fact, Pedialyte is the go-to recommendation for taking care of sick children who may become dehydrated from vomiting and diarrhea.
Guess what, grown-up? It can help you recover from gastrointestinal illness too. Classic pedialyte has water, electrolytes, and a little sugar to make it taste good and perk you up. Too much sugar (like in sports drinks and juice) can irritate an upset stomach, so this light version may go down easier.
It can also help you stay hydrated during exercise
Pedialyte might be better for hydrating during exercise than high sugar sports drinks. A research review showed that sports drinks with more than 8 grams of carbohydrates per 100 milliliters can slow down gastric emptying and intestinal absorption. Pedialyte has only 2.5 grams of carbs per 100 milliliters.
Pedialyte vs. plain water for dehydration
Plain water is definitely a good pick when you are dehydrated, but water is not the only important factor in staying hydrated. It’s also important to maintain electrolyte balance. When you sweat a lot or you’re sick, you lose electrolytes along with water. Electrolytes are minerals (like sodium, calcium, potassium, chloride, phosphate, and magnesium) that help with your bod’s water balance and a lot of other body functions, such as:
- balancing pH level
- moving nutrients into cells and waste out of cells
- helping your nerves, muscles, heart, and brain work properly
Classic Pedialyte contains sodium, potassium, and chloride to replenish electrolytes. Pedialyte also makes other formulas with different concentrations of electrolytes, sugar, and prebiotics.
Why’s it so important to stay hydrated? Your juicy little body is 55 to 65 percent water. All that water keeps things flowing smoothly in your nervous system, in your digestive tract, and in every cell of your body.
There are two main ways to get water back into your body.
- Drink fluids or eat foods with a high water content.
- Have IV fluids administered in the hospital.
If medical attention isn’t necessary, you can take these steps to rehydrate.
- Spread rehydration over several hours instead of chugging fluids all at once.
- Sodium is an important addition for electrolyte balance. You can get some through a rehydration drink (like Pedialyte or Gatorade).
- Milk can work as a rehydration beverage because it has sodium, carbs, and protein.
- Plain water with food is a good option for getting both fluids and minerals.
- Avoid alcohol because it can lead to further dehydration.
Hydration is super important to your bod. Here’s how you can make sure you stay on top of your hydration game.
- Put water on your to-do list. Drink water every day, throughout the day. Don’t worry about a specific number of cups or ounces, just keep the water flowing.
- Know when you need more. Doing vigorous activity or even light activity in sweltering summer temps calls for more bevvies. Drink more if you are sweating a lot or in hot temps.
- Beware of the dehydrators. Avoid sugar, alcohol, and caffeine if you’re having trouble drinking enough water.
- Drink more if you’re sick. Illness is notorious for sapping your energy *and* your fluids. Fever and gastro illness can dry you out. Extra water can also help thin out congestion and help your immune system clean things up.
Human bodies are in a constant ebb and flow of taking in fluids and releasing them through breath, sweat, and waste. You have to be especially conscious of replacing fluids and electrolytes when you’re sick or exercising in hot temps. Pedialyte is traditionally recommended for rehydrating sick children, but it also works well for adults who need a boost of fluid and minerals.