How Do Electrolytes Help Kids When They’re Ill?

All of us know the importance of drinking water. It makes up nearly two-thirds of our body and 90 per cent of our blood, which is essential to ensure our bodies function the way they should, including helping us exercise more effectively.

The effects of dehydration can be serious and when we are feeling sick and unwell, many of the symptoms we suffer such as fatigue, dizziness and dry mouth as much symptoms of dehydration as they are of the illness itself.

However, electrolyte tablets can help children and adults to feel better and recover faster, and to understand why this is the case, we need to understand why dehydration makes us feel worse.


Why Being Sick Makes Us Feel Sick

When we are ill, our bodies will often try to flush out the source of the illness, which is why a common side effect of food poisoning is being sick.

However, when we lose water from our bodies in such a large amount, we also lose electrolytes, which are the salts and minerals in our bodily fluids and especially our blood that hold an electrical charge.

They are vital for regulating blood pressure, acidity, muscle contractions and overall body maintenance to help keep us working well, so when we lose them, we often do not replenish electrolytes when we rehydrate ourselves.

This is why when we feel sick or are sick we feel very lethargic. We have no energy and are missing minerals that help our brain send nervous signals around our body and allow our muscles to contract and relax properly.


The Most Common Mistake We Make When Sick

A common mistake a lot of people make when they feel low on energy, such as after exercising, after being sick or if they are dealing with the fatigue that often comes with flu-like illnesses, is to reach for a sugary drink, as they are commonly associated with energy.


The problem is that too much sugar and/or caffeine can often make the problem worse, as both can cause cramping and have diuretic qualities, meaning that more vital electrolytes are flushed out of the system. Fruit juice can have the same problem if you drink too much at once.


Instead, drinking water mixed with electrolytes alongside a small amount of sugar is the best solution, particularly if that mix is taken in slowly.


Sugar is an important part of rehydration due to the effects of glucose. This was why when Lucozade was first sold and before it was rebranded as a sports drink it was sold as a medicine the logic being that the glucose in the drink would help transport the minerals into the cells of the body.


In practice, Lucozade had far too much sugar for that to be true, but more modern electrolyte solutions use the same principle of adding sugar and minerals.