World Oral Rehydration Salts Day, July 29 | Optimists Healthcare India

World Oral Rehydration Salts Day, July 29 | Optimists Healthcare India

World Oral Rehydration Salts Day, July 29

World Oral Rehydration Salts Day, July 29

World oral rehydration salts day (World ORS day) is an initiative to highlight the importance of ORS as a cost-effective health intervention. Acute diarrhea is one of the leading reasons behind mortality in young children and infants in multiple developing countries. Diarrheal disease is the 2nd top reason of death among children under five; poor sanitation is the primary cause of the disease and leads to diarrhea-related dehydration. The disease mainly affects infants, children, and older adults and can last several days while leaving the body without water or salts, which are necessary for survival. People or infants who die from diarrhea actually die from severe dehydration and bodily fluid loss. 

Diarrhea that leads to dehydration is preventable by home remedies or by consuming adequate glucose-electrolyte solutions called ORS or oral rehydration salts solutions. The oral rehydration salts consist of various electrolytes (salts) and sugar. The combination stimulates water and electrolyte absorption from the gut. So it reverses or prevents dehydration by replacing the lost salts. ORS is available in the form of readymade solutions and powder sachets on the market, and it is also easy to prepare at home.

Key Points

  • World oral rehydration salts day (World ORS day) is an initiative to highlight the importance of ORS.
  • WHO adopted oral rehydration salt solution (ORS) as the primary strategy to fight dehydration.
  • The oral rehydration salt solution (ORS) is an excellent glucose-electrolyte solution.
  • Patients can consume ORS as much as required, but the recommended amount is 200–300ml.

There are specific things to take care of before consuming ORS solutions to attain their benefits.

ORS history

The WHO (World Health Organization) adopted oral rehydration salts solution (ORS) as the primary strategy to fight dehydration due to diarrhea in 1978. Until then, the “golden standard” intravenous fluid therapy was the way of treatment for severe and moderate dehydration. 

In India, International Centre for Diarrheal Disease Research originated oral rehydration therapy (ORT) in the late 60s in East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) for treating cholera. 

In 2002, Dr Dilip Mahalanabis, Dr Norbert Hirschhorn, and Dr Nathaniel F. Pierce were awarded the First Pollin Prize for Pediatric Research for their work in developing ORT (oral rehydration therapy) 

From 1980–2000, ORT helped reduce diarrhea and dehydration deaths in children from 4.6 to 1.8 million. So potentially, ORT is one of the essential medical discoveries of the 20th century. The production of ORS is 500 million per year, and UNICEF distributes them to children in 60 developing countries with the help of the children’s rights agency. 

What is ORS?

Oral rehydration salts solution (ORS) is an excellent glucose-electrolyte solution that vastly helps individuals regain lost electrolytes. The power-boosting drink should require four common ingredients to dissolve in one litre of drinking water for preparing the ORS. The required contents: 

  • 20 grams of sugar (glucose)
  • 5 grams of salt (sodium chloride)
  • 9 grams of trisodium citrate dihydrate
  • 5 grams of potassium chloride
What is ORS?

The right proportion of sugar and electrolytes forms the ORS solution, improves water, and balances the electrolyte absorption from the intestine to reverse dehydration.

Dehydration symptoms

  • No or little urination for eight or more hours
  • Dry lips
  • Dry or cold skin
  • Dark-colored urine
  • Acute sleeplessness
  • Lack of tears or dry eyes
  • Fast heart rate
Dehydration symptoms

ORS dosage

Patients can consume ORS as much as required, but the recommended amount is 200–300ml after every diarrhea or loose stool episode. 

For children under 2: 1/4–1/2 of a large 250ml cup of ORS after every episode of watery stool 

For 2 years and above: 1/2–1 large cup of ORS after every episode of watery stool 

ORS preparation

ORS sachet: empty the sachet in a clean cup or container, and add enough water per the given instruction; remember, adding less water can worsen the condition. Never add the ORS sachet to soup, milk, juice, or other drinks. Do not add salt. 

ORS at home: With a few easy steps, ORS can be prepared at home and act as adequate rehydration. Combining the right ingredients in the right proportion is the key. Too much sugar can aggravate diarrhea, and too much salt can harm children. The right ingredients:

  • 1 litre of drinking water (boiled and cooled to room temperature)
  • 6 teaspoons of sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt

Blend the contents until the salt and sugar dissolve. ORS should be in a covered container and consumed within 24 hours due to the risks of bacterial infection. ORS acts as a lifesaver by replenishing the electrolytes and fluids lost through vomiting and diarrhea. But, consult a doctor in severe cases.

ORS preparation

ORS precautions

There are specific things to take care of before consuming ORS solutions to attain their benefits. They are:

  • Adults can drink the ORS directly from a glass, but children should use a spoon to consume the ORS.
  • While preparing ORS at home, make sure you add the right ingredient in the correct quantity since an inappropriate amount can also worsen the condition.
  • ORS can be effective in kids and adults with dehydration due to diarrhea, but if the condition lasts for more than one day, kindly consult a doctor at the earliest for other treatments.

Problem: Acute diarrhea is one of the leading reasons behind mortality in young children and infants in multiple developing countries.

Agitate: People or infants who die from diarrhea actually die from severe dehydration and bodily fluid loss.

Solution: Oral rehydration salts solution (ORS) is an excellent glucose-electrolyte solution that vastly helps individuals regain lost electrolytes.

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