Your choice of fluid for hydration is important. Drinks that are too sugary will actually cause diarrhea, chicken broth isn’t absorbed well, and water is the worst choice. That’s why there are rehydration drinks.
Water is normally absorbed from the intestine into the bloodstream by three mechanisms when you are healthy, but 2 of those methods don’t work if you have an intestinal infection. So, the only way to absorb water is through one special glucose/sodium transporter.
Unfortunately, sports drinks (Gatorade, Powerade, etc.) have too little sodium and far too much sugar to be an ideal rehydration drink. And some kids just spit out electrolyte-balanced Pedialyte. That’s why I’m in favor of Pedialyte popsicles. They have the right ratio of sugar and sodium for optimal absorption and the taste is more palatable because they’re cold. But my favorite thing about frozen fluids is that kids can’t drink them fast. When sick kids guzzle a drink down quickly, they stretch out their irritated stomach and just vomit again. Popsicles slow them down; plus they seem like a treat to most kids.
There’s nothing wrong with sprinkling table salt on an Otter Pop if that’s what you’ve got in the house.
Babies under age 1 are the exception to all the rules – they shun the flavored varieties of Pedialyte in favor of “unflavored” Pedialyte. So gross. So give store-bought, unflavored electrolyte solutions a try before you give up on a baby. And sometimes you really can’t make an infant drink if they don’t want to. For more tips on how to get kids to take fluids when they’re sick, read my post about how to get kids to drink when they have the stomach flu.
Finally, there are news stories circulating about drinking Pedialyte to cure a hangover. It’s not going to metabolize alcohol in your body any faster, but it is a good choice if you are dehydrated.