ORS day is observed on July 29 every year to create awareness about the importance of Oral Rehydration Salts, in saving millions of young lives. Established by the Indian Academy Of Pediatrics in 2001, with an intention aimed at lowering the cases of childhood diarrhea deaths, ORS day is now observed across the country.

Acute childhood diarrhea is one of the leading causes of mortality among young children. ORS, the cost-effective, simple and easiest medical intervention on average save 5,00,000 young lives every year in our country.

ORS therapy is believed to be one of the biggest groundbreaking medical innovations of the 20th century. ORS can be given to treat any case of dehydration caused either by severe diarrhea or heat stroke or any other illness which results in loss of fluids.

World O.R.S. Day

According to WHO diarrhea is defined as a passage of three or more loose stools per day. It is a symptom of gastrointestinal infection. Diarrhea is caused due to poor sanitation and hygiene that can result in severe dehydration. It lasts for several days and deprives the body of water and minerals required for survival.

Dehydration caused due to diarrhea can be prevented by rehydrating lost fluids or can be treated by effectively providing glucose electrolyte solution called Oral Rehydration Salts (ORS) or solution. Another effective formulation is ORS Jodi (ORS and Zinc) which helps in treating dehydration, vomiting and diarrhea.

What Is ORS?

ORS is an incredible glucose-electrolyte solution that extensively helps an individual in regaining lost electrolytes. According to the World Health Organization, this power-boosting drink requires to have four basic ingredients which are then dissolved in one litre of clean drinking water. ORS chiefly comprises of:

  • 20 grams of glucose (sugar)
  • 5 grams of sodium chloride (common salt)
  • 9 grams of trisodium citrate, dihydrate
  • 5 grams of potassium chloride

ORS solution comprises a blend of electrolytes (salts) and sugar. The right proportion of electrolytes and sugar improves water and balances the electrolyte absorption from the intestine.  It is available in powder form in sachets and can also be made easily at home as well.

Dosage ORS

ORS can be taken by the patients as and much required, however, it is recommended to have 200-300ml of ORS after every episode of loose stools.

Preparation Of Readymade ORS Drink

Empty the ORS sachet in a clean container, add enough water as per the instructions. Adding less water can worsen the condition.

Never add ORS powder to milk, soup, fruit juices or any other drinks.

Do not add salt

Mix well and sip the drink often.

Preparation Of ORS At Home

Oral rehydration solutions can be very well prepared at home and in most cases, it is an effective way for rehydration. Make sure you combine the right proportion of ingredients. Too much sugar can worsen diarrhea and excess salts can be dangerous to the child.

1 litre clean water (boiled and cooled at room temperature)

6 level teaspoon sugar

½ teaspoon salt

Blend the mixture well until the sugar and salt dissolve.

ORS should be stored in a covered container and not be kept for more than 24 hours due to the risk of bacterial infections.

ORS is a lifesaver and functions by replenishing the fluids and electrolytes lost through diarrhea and vomiting. However, in severe cases consult the physician.

Dosage Of ORS For Children

Under Age 2: At least ¼ to ½ of a large (250 ml) cup of the ORS drink after each watery stool.

2 Yrs. And Above: At least ½ to 1 large cup of the ORS drink after each watery stool.

Alongside ORS, you can also give 20 mg of zinc per day (tablet or syrup) to the children over six months of age and 10 mg per day (tablet or syrup) to the children under six months of age, but only with prior doctor’s approval.

Tips To Keep In Mind While Consuming ORS

Although sipping a glass of this incredible ORS solution when suffering from dehydration or diarrhea might seem simple, there are certain tips to take care of to enjoy its manifold benefits. These include: 

  • While adults can drink the solution directly from a glass but in the case of kids, do use a spoon or a cup to feed instead of a bottle.
  • While preparing this solution at home, ensure that you add the appropriate quantity of salt and sugar as an excess of either might worsen the condition instead of improvement.
  • Even though the ORS drink is considered extremely safe and effective in case of dehydration and diarrhea in kids and adults alike, yet if the condition persists for more than 24 hours without any improvement or worsens, do consult a doctor at the earliest for a detailed diagnosis and treatment.