14.4.6  Advise the mother to increase fluid during the child’s illness

A sick child requires extra fluids. Advice about fluids is summarised in Box 14.3 below. Give this advice to every mother who is taking her child home unless she has already received many instructions and may be overwhelmed by more advice, or she has already been taught Plan A (on the Treat the Child chart).

Box 14.3  Advice on providing fluids to a sick child

For any sick child:

  • Advise the mother to increase fluid during the illness. For example, give the child soup, rice water, yoghurt drinks or clean water.
  • Breastfeed more frequently and for longer each feed.

For a child with diarrhoea:

  • Extra fluid can be life saving. Give the child fluid according to Plan A or Plan B on the Treat the Child chart.
  • What are the three basic steps you should take when teaching a mother to care for her child at home?

  • You should recall from the beginning of this study session that the three main steps are: give the mother information, show her an example and then let her practise. As you read, the mother is more likely to understand what to do if she has had a chance to practise first.

  • What are examples of good checking questions?

  • Here are some examples you may have thought of, or you might have come up with some of your own: How often do you breastfeed your child? What do you need to do to treat your child’s eye infection? What will you do if your child has a fever?

    Remember you need to use words such as how, why, what and when so that the mother cannot just answer yes or no to your question.

14.4.5  Soothe the throat or relieve coughs with a safe remedy

14.5  Advise the mother when to return to see a health worker