Our two sons played organized ice hockey and baseball, beginning at ages five (ice hockey) and nine (Little League). They went on to become All-Stars in both sports in high school, competing on varsity and travel teams. They entered Ivy League colleges and had to choose to play one sport, due to overlapping seasons. They both chose baseball. They each became All-Ivy baseball players and went on to play in the Boston Red Sox pro baseball system for seven years (which I chronicle in my book, MINOR LEAGUE MOM: A MOTHER'S JOURNEY THROUGH THE RED SOX FARM TEAMS).
During their playing days, they always carried a water bottle or later, a Gatorade in their sports bags. My husband coached their Little League and Babe Ruth baseball teams, so the water keg was always filled. My husband had played college football in the days when the theory was that drinking water before, during, and after a game caused stomach cramps!
Now our sons have their own children, ages six and one-half down to thirteen-month twins. We were asked to babysit the twins, while the rest of their family were in a wedding in Chicago.
Hurricane Irene came along the weekend we were babysitting. In addition to the storm outside, one twin had a storm raging inside. He developed roseola, a common disease caused by a virus. affecting children six months to three years. The first day, he whined but continued to eat and drink his normal massive quantities. The second day, his temperature spiked at 104 degrees. We couldn't take him anywhere (obviously!), so we relied on the tried-and-true treatments of stripping him, using cool washcloths, making him sip cool water, and rocking him under an a.c. vent. Fortunately, we never lost power! Around 1 a.m. we called our son and daughter-in-law, a physician. She told us to give him children's Ibuprofen, and the amount.
The next day, his temperature lowered. Still, he wasn't eating or drinking. His parents returned on a rescheduled flight. By the fifth day, his temperature was normal and there were no aftereffects. He began eating and drinking again. What did he drink? GATORADE! A rash on his trunk appeared subsequently for several days, then disappeared.
This website cites a 1999 study in the Journal of Applied Physiology that states sports drinks do the following: they contain carbs for energy; they replace electrolytes which are broken down during dehydration (sodium, potassium, magnesium, chloride); they speed rehydration by creating a thirst; they make drinking taste better.
We learned a lesson we will not soon forget, the next time we are babysitting!