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Caring for Someone Sick at Home

Tips to Prevent Fluid Loss (Dehydration)

This website is archived for historical purposes and is no longer being maintained or updated. For updated information on the current flu season, see the CDC Seasonal Flu website.

December 15, 2009, 3:00 PM ET

Give plenty of liquids at the first sign of flu. Sick people with the flu need to drink extra fluids to keep from getting dehydrated. Mild fluid loss can most often be treated at home. Yet, severe dehydration is VERY serious and must be treated in the hospital.

Tips to prevent dehydrationwoman feeding baby

  • If the sick person is not eating well, encourage them to drink liquids. Avoid alcohol or drinks with caffeine in them such as colas, tea, and coffee.
  • Older adults and people with kidney problems should check with their doctor about safe amounts of liquid to drink when sick.
  • Offer clear fluids such as water, broth, or sports drinks.
  • Use a squeeze bottle or a straw for people too weak to drink from a cup. Or offer ice chips or frozen ice pops to suck on.
  • Continue to nurse or bottle feed your baby. Babies get all the fluid they need from breastfeeding or formula.

    If your baby refuses to breastfeed or take formula from the bottle, call the doctor. Your doctor may recommend you give your child a special drink like Pedialyte®, which is meant to prevent dehydration.
 
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