Treatment of dehydration in children with severe acute malnutrition
Severe acute malnutrition is defined by a very low weight for height, by visible severe wasting, or by the presence of nutritional oedema. Dehydration is common in people with severe acute malnutrition and is caused by untreated diarrhoea, which leads to a loss of water and electrolytes.
In children with severe acute malnutrition, WHO recommends that mild and moderate dehydration caused by cholera should be treated immediately with oral rehydration salts, and that severe dehydration should be treated with intravenous fluids.
Where dehydration in severe acute malnutrition is caused by other diarrhoeal diseases, WHO recommends treatment with an altered version of oral rehydration salts called ReSoMal, which is higher in potassium and lower in sodium.
Hospital-based management of severe malnutrition
Status: guidelines under review
WHO position paper on oral rehydration salts to reduce mortality from cholera
Pocket book of hospital care for children: guidelines for the management of common illnesses with limited resources
Management of the child with a serious infection or severe malnutrition: guidelines for care at the first-referral level in developing countries [pdf 3.1Mb]
Management of severe malnutrition: a manual for physicians and other senior health workers [pdf 1.4Mb]
- Reduced osmolarity oral rehydration solution for treating dehydration caused by acute diarrhoea in children