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Oral Rehydration Salts Solution (ORS): An Effective Remedy For Dehydration

Binish Ahmed

ORS reverses dehydration and replaces the lost salts in the body.

It is normal for the body to lose water daily via breathing, sweating, urinating, excretion and even crying! However, if you are not drinking enough water or losing more fluids than you take in, then you may end up being dehydrated. If ignored, severe dehydration can lead to many uncomfortable symptoms that need immediate medical attention.

What causes dehydration?

Sometimes dehydration happens due to simple reasons such as not drinking enough water when you’re sick, busy or travelling. Some serious causes of dehydration are:

Dehydration symptoms can range from mild to severe: from thirst, dry mouth, dry skin, headache to feeling dizzy, rapid heartbeat, sunken eyes, lack of energy and fainting.

An effective rehydration solution for dehydration

Oral rehydration salt solution (ORS) is a glucose-electrolyte solution that can help retain the fluid loss in the body. It has proven to be successful in preventing and managing acute dehydration and diarrhoea. 

ORS contains salts (electrolytes) and sugar which helps stimulate water and electrolyte absorption from the gut. In simple terms, it reverses dehydration and replaces the lost salts.  ORS is easily available at the pharmacy in a powder form in sachets. Buying this product does not require any prescription. 

How to prepare ORS solution

  1. ORS is available in 20.5g, 10.25g or 4g and can be reconstituted respectively in 1l, 500ml or 200ml of drinking water
  2. Boil the required volume of drinking water and let it cool
  3. Dissolve the entire contents of one sachet and give a good stir
  4. Drink the solution as advised by the doctor or the instructions in the sachet
  5. Discard the solution 24 hours after preparation

The correct dosage

For infants under 6 months: Sleepiness, irritability, no tears, dry mouth and decrease in wet diapers are signs that your baby is dehydrated, which requires emergency medical attention. If your baby is less than 6 months old, it is advised that you breastfeed him/her at regular intervals. Do not give ORS solution to your child.

For 6 months to 1-year-olds: Add the powder in 200ml boiled and cooled water. Give your child ORS in frequent doses using a spoon or dropper. Ensure that you’re giving small doses. 50-100ml of ORS solution is recommended for children of this age bracket.

For 2-10 years old: Follow the preparation method as above. Give doses in small quantities. 100-200ml of ORS solution is recommended for children of this age bracket.

In older children and adults, you can drink as advised by the doctor. If ORS is not available or you do not have any ingredients for the homemade solution then it is best you consult a pediatrician immediately or visit the hospital. 

Homemade ORS recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 6 teaspoons of sugar
  • 1-litre drinking water

Method:

  • Boil the water and then let it cool down
  • Add sugar, salt and mix it till it dissolves
  • Makes 5 cupfuls (200ml each) 
  • The solution must be consumed within 24 hours. You can add a few drops of lemon juice for taste.

Other homemade rehydration remedies: Carrot soup, rice water, mashed bananas, fresh fruit juice, coconut water or just simple drinking water.

It is important to remember that the ORS solution is only used for the treatment of dehydration caused by vomiting or diarrhoea.  It cannot cure the underlying cause. Therefore, it is important that you consult a doctor online if you have doubts about a health condition or medication. With MFine, you can instantly connect with a doctor from the comfort of your home. Ab #HarGharMeinDoctor

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