ORS has been described as potentially the most important medical advance of 20th century, the day is all about spreading awareness regarding the solution that is a proven cost-effective medicine for diarrhoea. Children should never be given any tablets, antibiotics or other medicines unless prescribed by a trained health care provider; instead they should be given ORS to stop dehydration which is the main reason behind deaths due to diarrhoea.
Dehydration is a condition in which the amount of body fluids lost – mostly water and electrolytes- surpasses that which is taken in. It is when more water goes out of the body than what you are drinking to replenish your supply. Humans lose body water daily through many ways like excretions as stool, sweat, and urine, and also by exhaling. When you lose excess water, your body goes out of balance or becomes dehydrated. Death can even occur in severe cases.
What is ORS and how does it work?
ORS (oral rehydration salts) is a special combination of dry salts that is mixed with safe water. It can help replace the fluids lost due to diarrhoea. Â When ORS is consumed, the electrolytes and sugar content in it helps in faster absorption of water from the gut. The ORS solution is also able to replace the lost salt in the body.
Furthermore, remember that small babies hardly have any fluid reserved in their body, making them more susceptible to dehydration and other complications. ORS is an easy solution which would cure dehydration and restore electrolyte balance.
Where can ORS be obtained and how it can be prepared?
ORS is readily available in the market in a powdered form in sachets. Put the contents of the ORS packet in a clean container. Check the packet for directions and add the correct amount of clean water. Too little water could make the diarrhoea worse.
- Make sure you add water only
- Do not add ORS to milk, soup, fruit juice or soft drinks
- Do not add sugar
Stir well, and feed it to the child from a clean cup. Do not use a bottle.
What if ORS is not available?
Give the child a drink made with 6 level teaspoons of sugar and 1/2 level teaspoon of salt dissolved in 1 litre of clean water.
- Be very careful to mix the correct amounts.
- Too much sugar can make the diarrhoea worse.
- Too much salt can be extremely harmful to the child.
Making the mixture a little too diluted (with more than 1 litre of clean water) is not harmful.