What is Homemade Serum, how to do it, for dogs and cats, fattening?


What is homemade serum?

The ORS is a mixture of water, salt and sugar which serves to combat the symptoms of dehydration  caused by diarrhea and / or vomiting. It can be used even in children and animals and is a way to avoid complications such as hyponatremia (lack of salt in the body).

According to data from the World Health Organization (WHO), approximately 3 million children worldwide die from complications caused by diarrhea. Not only are children at risk, but also the elderly. Dehydration is one of the main causes of hospitalization in the elderly.

In Brazil, Pastoral da Criança was the institution that first supported the campaign for the popularization of homemade serum in the country. Since 1983, it has maintained, on a permanent basis, the campaign to guide families on the preparation of homemade serum, including offering the necessary measuring spoons to make the serum accurately.

Treatment for dehydration includes drinking fluids with specific nutrients for electrolyte replacement. Among them, the easiest to make is homemade serum.

It is important to remember that homemade serum does not cure the main causes of dehydration , but only serves to relieve symptoms and help to replace the nutrients lost during these cases.

Therefore, if dehydration affects you or someone close to you, use homemade serum. If that does not work, seek medical or pharmacist assistance.

What is it for?

Homemade serum is used to combat the symptoms of dehydration. It works by replenishing water and minerals lost in vomiting or diarrhea, common in case of gastroenteritis and dengue , for example.

It is indicated for all ages and can be used, even, in babies, dogs and cats, when the need arises. However, for babies who are still breastfeeding, it is not recommended to use homemade serum , keeping it hydrated only through breast milk.

In more severe cases, it may not be enough, and it is recommended that you seek professional medical assistance.

How to make homemade serum


  • 1L of filtered or boiled water;
  • 1 teaspoon of salt (3.5g);
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar (20g).

Preparation mode

Separate the water and add a spoonful of salt and a spoonful of sugar. Mix well until both ingredients are completely dissolved.

Dosages should be made throughout the day in small quantities . One should not take a whole glass of serum at once, as it may irritate the intestine and end up at the risk of irritating the stomach and intestine and having more episodes of vomiting and diarrhea.

Precautions during preparation

The main problem when preparing a dose of homemade whey is in mistakes made when measuring the amounts of salt and sugar. In ordinary kitchen spoons, the amount of salt and sugar can end up varying a lot.

So, to avoid these preparation errors, there are standard spoons recommended by UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund).

These spoons can be purchased at popular pharmacies or health centers. When using them, just mix a shallow measure of salt and two shallow measures of sugar in 200mL of water for the serum to be in the correct proportions and to work more effectively, as recommended by the WHO and the Ministry of Health.

However, it is still very important to be aware of the amount of water. If you are going to use ordinary kitchen spoons, the amount of water used is 1L. If you have the UNICEF standard spoon, the amount is 200mL.

If the homemade serum is kept in a suitable container, closed and refrigerated, its validity is 24 hours .

How to take

Homemade serum should be taken on the same day it was made and in small sips throughout the day.

In cases where dehydration is caused by vomiting or diarrhea, the amount of fluids lost during these episodes should be observed and the equivalent should be taken in homemade serum. One way to make this measurement is through thirst, and small amounts of serum should be taken to prevent thirst and end the feeling of dry mouth.

You should not take more than half a glass of serum at one time, as this can cause irritability in the stomach and intestine and have the reverse effect.

Even so, there are alternatives to taking the serum. Check out:

  • 150mL to 300mL every 1 hour;
  • 1 dessert spoon every 2 minutes, so that you will be consuming 1 glass per hour;
  • 10mL of serum per kg of weight each time you have an episode of diarrhea;
  • 2mL per kg of weight each time you have an episode of vomiting.

Babies and children should take the serum in spoons, the recommended amount of which is 50mL per kilogram of weight every 4 hours. For example, if the child is 10kg, he should consume 500mL in a period of 4 hours.

Another way to control dehydration is through urine. During dehydration, the urine appears more accentuated in color, with a stronger odor and with little volume. If you are experiencing multiple episodes of diarrhea and have hardly any urination, increase your fluid replacement levels.

What is dehydration?

Water constantly leaves your body through sweat, urine and feces. Therefore, it is very important to replace fluids. Dehydration occurs when the loss of fluids is very large, which can lead to a series of health complications.

It can be caused by several factors, such as heat, diabetes , burns, nausea, intense physical exercise, prolonged exposure to the sun, diarrhea and vomiting.

Keep an eye out for the symptoms of dehydration, as it can have serious consequences, ranging from mild discomfort to death.

What are the symptoms of dehydration?

Dehydration can be divided into two categories: moderate and severe.

In cases of moderate dehydration, the symptoms are:

  • Restlessness and irritability;
  • Deep eyes;
  • Dry mouth;
  • Headquarters;
  • Decrease in urine;
  • Decreased tears.

In cases of severe dehydration, the symptoms are:

  • Lethargy and loss of consciousness;
  • Irritability or confusion;
  • Very dry mouth;
  • Weak or absent heartbeat;
  • Increased heart rate;
  • Decreased blood pressure;
  • Changes in skin elasticity;
  • Seizure;
  • Difficulty sneezing;
  • Cold skin;
  • Hyperthermia;
  • Headaches;
  • Very intense thirst;
  • Muscle cramps;
  • Changes in urine color;
  • Fatigue or drowsiness;
  • Urine levels very low or nonexistent;
  • Complications like organ failure.

In addition, there are specific signs to identify dehydration in babies. Check out:

Dehydration in babies

The most common cause of dehydration in babies is diarrhea.

The symptoms of dehydration are more difficult to identify, as babies do not speak. Therefore, it is very important to pay attention to the signs in order to be able to provide the necessary treatment. Check out a list of the most common symptoms:

  • Deep sternum;
  • Dry mouth;
  • Dry eye;
  • I cry without a tear.

In cases of heat dehydration, which are more rare, the main symptoms are dry mouth and sunken eyes.

Read more: Homemade serum: what it is for, how to do it and measures

How to prevent dehydration?

The secret to avoid dehydration is in drinking water throughout the day. Consuming water-rich foods, such as fruits and vegetables, is also an option, as they contribute to hydration.

The amount of water needed to maintain a healthy day-to-day life varies from person to person and is altered by factors such as the level of altitude, amount of sweat and climate. Therefore, it is not possible to pinpoint exactly how much water you should drink to stay hydrated.

However, there are a few precautions you can take:

  • Drinking water even without being thirsty:  thirst is one of the main symptoms of dehydration. However, even if you are not thirsty, it is necessary that you drink water, as often the thirst may not be present. So prevention is better than cure.
  • Drink a lot of water before exercising:  physical exercise consumes a lot of water, which is expelled through sweat and breathing. Therefore, hydrating yourself before physical activities is very important.
  • Replacing the liquids lost by sweating: if it is very hot and you are sweating a lot, it is necessary to replace the liquids lost through moderate water intake.
  • Replacing fluids lost with vomiting or diarrhea:  if diarrhea or vomiting occurs, it is important to replace fluids in the body. However, as in these two cases not only water is lost, but many nutrients, it is a good option to hydrate yourself with substances rich in electrolytes, such as homemade serum.

When to go to the doctor?

If you ignore the symptoms of dehydration for a long time, it can progress and have serious consequences. Therefore, it is recommended that you go to the doctor immediately if the diarrhea or vomiting lasts for more than 24 hours.

One of the symptoms of severe dehydration is a feeling of dizziness when standing up. This is a sign that blood pressure is dropping very quickly.

Other signs include rapid heartbeat and breathing, confusion, indifference and lack of attention, sunken eyes, among others. In such cases, the skin may lose its elasticity and become drier.

Still, there are other symptoms that can tell you when to seek immediate medical help are:

  • Fainting;
  • Not being able to sweat or cry with tears;
  • Weakness;
  • Lack of urine;
  • Extreme thirst.

If you have any of these symptoms, go to the doctor immediately. In the meantime, you can use homemade serum, but it will not be the solution, just a palliative.

What is hyponatremia?

Hyponatremia is a disorder in which there is an imbalance of salt and water in the body, causing the salt to be very diluted in the blood. In most cases, there is either a deficiency of salt and electrolytes in the body, or there is an excess of water.

Its causes vary from heart, kidney and liver problems, but it can be caused especially by diarrhea, vomiting and dehydration. It is a serious disease that can even lead to death.

That is why it is so important to use, whenever necessary, the use of homemade serum. With diseases such as hyponatremia, you can’t play or go soft.

Homemade serum for dogs and cats

Your pets can also suffer from symptoms of dehydration. Diarrhea and vomiting can be common in your pets, especially after they reach a certain age.

Homemade serum, then, can be used to treat dogs and cats that experience this problem. Its method of preparation is a little different from homemade human serum, as it must be made to please the animal’s taste and encourage it to use the serum on its own.

As in humans, the mixture is not meant to fight the disease that is causing diarrhea or vomiting, but only to relieve the symptoms of dehydration by replenishing nutrients.

You should gradually give the solution to your pet over a period of 24 hours. If your pet is refusing to take the serum, you can put it directly in his mouth with the help of a syringe. If the animal is larger, you can use a bottle with a nipple cut.

To find the best option, you should consult a veterinarian. If the pet is unable to ingest the serum or has a very advanced degree of dehydration, consult a specialist immediately.


People with diabetes should not use homemade serum. Instead, they should seek medical help, as well as people who experience severe dehydration.

In addition, if you have hypertension, you should avoid taking home-made serum because of the amount of salt involved in the mixture.

Alternatives to homemade serum

Oral rehydration solution

Although cheap and very easy to make, homemade whey is not always reliable, as getting the amount of sugar and salt to be mixed with water is a more complicated task than it seems. Therefore, using other oral rehydration solutions is a smart alternative to combat the symptoms of dehydration.

In recent years, WHO has begun to indicate the use of oral rehydration solutions to treat these symptoms. They usually come in packs with a specific amount, just dilute the contents of the sachets in 1L of clean water (boiled or filtered).

Oral rehydration solutions are offered free of charge at health centers and popular pharmacies. There are also options that can be bought in pharmacies, such as Rehidrat , Hidrafix  or Pedialyte .

In addition, oral rehydration solutions are better than homemade serum, because, unlike this, which is composed only of water, sodium and glucose, it has a greater and more diverse amount of mineral salts, which favors the replacement of electrolytes.

Natural juices and teas

Another good alternative is the consumption of natural juices without added sugar . These drinks are best indicated in cases of mild diarrhea without clear signs of dehydration .

Teas are also a good choice in these cases. However, it is worth remembering that they cannot have diuretic properties, in order to avoid dehydration and hyponatremia.

Pure water

In milder cases of diarrhea, simply drinking pure water also works very well to avoid unpleasant symptoms.

However, in the most intense cases, in which dehydration is present, compensation should not be made only with water, as there is a loss of electrolytes that must be replaced through specific solutions, such as homemade serum, which contains salt, sugar and other nutrients that are lost.

Coconut Water

Because it contains a large amount of ions and minerals, coconut may be a good option as a natural substitute for homemade whey.

However, even so, it is better to follow the recommendations given by WHO than to rely on natural remedies. It is important to consult your doctor or pharmacist before taking any action.

Common questions

How to know if the serum is in the ideal proportions?

One of the most efficient ways to know if you got the amount of sodium and sugar right is through taste. The whey in the correct proportions must have a neutral taste, that is, neither salty nor sweet, similar to the taste of a tear.

Therefore, before offering the serum to the patient, take a little to the mouth and taste it.

Why do the amounts of homemade serum have to be so accurate?

Because these quantities guarantee the best absorption of water in the intestine. The function of the serum is to rehydrate the body in cases of loss of body fluid, especially in situations of diarrhea.

To facilitate the water absorption process in the intestine, it is necessary to have the presence of sodium (Na +) and Chlorine (Cl-) ions, present in table salt, and other ions from glucose.

They speed up the process of water absorption by the body and treat the symptoms of dehydration more effectively.

Homemade serum is fattening?

No! Homemade whey is not fattening, as the amounts of sugar used to make the formula are not significant to cause weight gain. For comparison, we can use a glass of Coca-Cola.

A 200mL glass of Coca-Cola contains approximately 21g of sugar, while 1 liter of homemade whey contains only 20g. Doing the calculations, it is possible to say that the soda has approximately 5 times more sugar than homemade whey.

In addition, as the homemade serum is made for the purpose of replacing electrolytes, there are no risks involving its consumption and obesity.

Homemade serum is a great option to treat symptoms of dehydration. It is easy to do and can help save many lives. So please rate and share this article with your friends. You do public health a huge favor when you disclose information as important as this.

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