Every year, 29 July is observed as World ORS Day. ORS is the abbreviated form of Oral Rehydration Salts solution. The day aims to highlight the importance of Oral Rehydration Salts as a simple and cost-effective method of health intervention.
The WHO claims that diarrhoea is one of the major causes of death of babies, who are below five years. Diarrhoea, which is usually caused by poor sanitation and hygiene, can affect older people also. A normal case of diarrhoea lasts for 6-7 days and leaves the body without water and salts, resulting in severe dehydration.
Dehydration from diarrhoea can be prevented by giving extra fluids at home, out of which the easiest and most effective remedy is ORS.
An oral rehydration solution (ORS) is a mixture of electrolytes, sugar and water. The solution is taken by mouth to absorb water and electrolytes into the body and restore the electrolyte and fluid balance lost by excessive sweating, vomiting or diarrhoea.
ORS is an effective treatment for 90-95 per cent of patients suffering from diarrhoea, regardless of the cause. ORS was first developed as a treatment for diarrheal diseases as it helps counter the stomach acid and ease the condition.
Most ORS solutions focus on increasing the sodium or potassium content on the body because that helps the intestines in absorbing more water. ORS solutions can be made at home and are available at all chemist stores.
Help treat diarrhoea: Drinking ORS can help replace the lost fluids and essential salts which were lost from your body due to diarrhoea. The glucose contained in ORS solution enables the intestine to absorb the fluid and the salts more efficiently. Thereby help in preventing or treating dehydration and reducing complications and death.
Good for dehydration: ORS drink is a combination of salt, sugar and water, which makes it great for people suffering from dehydration. When an individual loses too much glucose or salt from the body due to excess sweating, drinking the ORS solution can help regain the lost glucose and salt. Studies have pointed out that drinking ORS can help replenish the blood with the required minerals or electrolytes, which are lost during any illness.
Beneficial for athletes: For an individual who sweats out a lot in the gym or on the tracks, ORS solution is a good choice as it can help one feel active even after a long session of practice.
Treats fatigue and weakness: When the levels of fluids in your body reduces, it can cause you to feel fatigued and weak. Drinking a glass of ORS solution can help replenish the lost fluids and make you feel energised quick.
Though the ORS is available over the counter in any medical store, in case of an emergency, one need not worry, as this drink can be easily prepared at home.
Do not add anything extra, apart from these ingredients. You should not use any added colour or artificial sweeteners.
For storage: You can store the ORS solution in your refrigerator. But see to it that you do not use this mixed ORS after 24 hours. You need to prepare it fresh one if after 24 hours.
Q. What is the use of ORS drink?
A: Oral rehydration solutions are used to treat dehydration caused by diarrhoea. Unlike other fluids, the ratio of the ingredients in an ORS matches what the body needs to recover from diarrheal illness.
Q. How much ORS should I drink?
A: For diarrhoea, a child aged two years or older needs at least ½ to 1 whole large (250-ml) cup of the ORS drink after each watery stool. If the child vomits- wait for 10 minutes. Give a teaspoonful every 2-3 minutes. If the child is on breastfeeding, continue it along with ORS. A child under the age of 2 years needs at least ¼ to ½ of a large (250-ml) cup of the ORS drink after each watery stool. Give 1-2 teaspoon every 2-3 minutes.
Q. Can ORS be used for everyone?
A: ORS is safe and can be used to treat anyone suffering from diarrhoea and dehydration.
Q. Is ORS good for dehydration?
A: The CDC guidelines support and recommend the use of ORS for the treatment of mild to moderate dehydration.
Q. Can I drink ORS daily?
A: Drinking ORS daily is not good for our body.
Q. What are the side effects of ORS?
A: In extremely rare cases, some people may experience severe side effects, including dizziness, unusual weakness, swelling of ankles/feet, mental/mood changes (such as irritability, restlessness), seizures.
Q. Can I drink ORS after vomiting?
A: Yes. But if the person vomits after drinking the ORS, wait for 30 to 60 minutes after the last time he or she vomited, and then give him or her a few sips of an ORS. Small amounts every few minutes may stay down better than a large amount all at once.