Four different carbohydrate electrolyte solutions were provided for children under 18 months with acute gastroenteritis treated as outpatients. Osmolality and sodium content were measured in samples of solutions as given by the parents. All types of feed were made up with marked inaccuracy. Osmolality was sometimes unacceptably high in solutions containing glucose, while the highest osmolality for sucrose solutions hardly exceeded the correct value for glucose solutions. Most parents could use a sachet with reasonable accuracy although there were still wide extremes of errors. The ideal preparation for use in developed countries may be a sachet containing sucrose and electrolyte, particularly if such sachets could be made generally available and not just for use in hospitals and clinics.
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