Saline Solution: How to Make & Take It

Updated in October 2023

What is it:

Saline solution is a hydrating drink that is made by mixing water, salt and sugar. Saline solution is recommended to treat or prevent dehydration caused by vomiting or diarrhea. It can be taken by adults, children, babies and even pets.

Although it can be used for babies, it should not be given to babies who are still exclusively breastfed. In these cases, it is better to continue offering breastmilk to keep the baby hydrated. 

In addition to taking saline solution, find out what to eat when you have diarrhea to ensure essential nutrients and minerals are not lost through the stool.

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Receita de 1 L de soro caseiro com colher de sopa

How to make saline solution

To make saline solution, mix 1 liter of water with 1 heaped tablespoon of sugar (20 g) and 1 teaspoon of salt (3.5 g). The water should be filtered, mineral or boiled.


  • 1 liter of filtered, boiled or bottled mineral water
  • 1 heaped tablespoon of sugar or 2 level tablespoons of sugar (20 g)
  • 1 teaspoon of salt (3.5 g)


Mix all the ingredients well and stir until you get a clear mixture. Drink 2 to 3 liters a day, in small sips, several times a day.

Common uses

Saline solution is used to combat dehydration, as it replenishes the water and mineral salts lost through vomiting and diarrhea. It can be taken during bouts of gastroenteritis or if you have dengue fever, for example. Saline solution is suitable for all ages and can even be given to dogs and cats when necessary.

People with diabetes should not take saline solution, and should instead seek medical attention if they experience great amounts of vomiting or diarrhea. It is important to clarify that taking saline solution won't stop or cure vomiting and diarrhea. It is only beneficial for replenishing lost fluids and mineral salts, which is why it's still important to see a doctor for severe vomiting and diarrhea.

How to take saline solution

You should take the saline solution the same day you prepare it and in small sips throughout the day. In the event of vomiting or diarrhea, you should note (approximately) the amount of fluid lost and take the saline solution in the same proportion. In addition, it is not recommended to take more than half a glass of solution in one go. Babies and children can take the solution in spoons.

Although it's very simple to make the saline solution at home, there are also electrolyte packets on sale in pharmacies that already contain salt and glucose in the exact dose to mix in 1 liter of water. This is the best alternative when the quality of the water is questionable or when traveling with small children.

When to go to the doctor

When diarrhea and vomiting continue for more than 24 hours, it is important to go to the doctor to identify the cause and adjust the treatment, which in some cases can be done with antibiotics. You should not take medication without medical advice because it can be harmful to your health.

Learn more about what causes vomiting and diarrhea and what to do.