Oral rehydration: a pharmacy guide

Understand the important role oral rehydration products play in helping prevent dehydration after illness

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This module aims to give pharmacy teams the information they need to provide advice and recommend appropriate products to customers who may be at risk of becoming dehydrated.

Learning objectives

  • Identify the possible causes of dehydration
  • Understand the importance of rehydration
  • Be able to recommend the most appropriate products
  • Understand how rehydration products work

Dehydration occurs when the body loses more fluids than it takes in.
Click on the headings below to find out more about the causes and symptoms of dehydration.


Possible causes of dehydration include:1,2

  • Diarrhoea or vomiting
  • Being in the sun too long
  • Being in a hot climate
  • Drinking too much alcohol
  • Sweating a lot while exercising
  • Having a high temperature of 38°C or more
  • Not drinking enough fluid

Dehydration can also happen more easily if someone has diabetes or is taking certain medicines, such as diuretics.

Symptoms of dehydration include:1,2

  • Feeling thirsty
  • Dark yellow and strong-smelling urine
  • Feeling dizzy or lightheaded
  • Feeling tired
  • Dry mouth, lips and eyes
  • Urinating little and fewer than four times a day

Symptoms of dehydration in babies and young children include:

  • A sunken soft spot (fontanelle) on their head
  • Few or no tears when they cry
  • Fewer wet nappies
  • Drowsiness

Advise customers to see their GP if symptoms continue despite drinking plenty of fluids, or if they think their baby or toddler is dehydrated.2

Product information is available at the end of the module.

Content developed by Sanofi working with CIG Healthcare Partnership.
©2021 CIG Healthcare Partnership

Job number: MAT-GB-2102550 (v1.0)   Date of preparation: June 2021