World ORS Day 2020: In children, vomiting and diarrhoea are quite common conditions. In the monsoon season, there is an increased likelihood of tummy infection. It may present as loose motions, vomiting and fever either together or separately. Rarely sudden abdominal pain that comes and goes may be a sign of gastrointestinal infection as well. Parents should not ignore such symptoms and should seek medical attention before it leads to dehydration and needs urgent medical intervention. How to treat dehydration? The best and easiest way to treat dehydration is feeding your child with ORS (Oral Rehydration Solution) instead of any medicine at first instance. It is a combination of electrolytes in clean water. Generally, tummy torment (loose stools) happens because of viral infections. Usually, most episodes are mild and self-limiting. Sometimes, vomiting also occurs and if vomiting is troublesome doctor may advise certain medicines based on age and weight of child; however, in most cases, even vomiting is self-limiting.
How do ORS works?
When a child goes through diarrhoea, a condition where one has loose, watery, and more frequent bowel movements, lots of water and salt gets out from the child’s body. Therefore, to avoid such a severe condition, a child should be regularly fed. WHO (World health organization) recommended ORS is readily available in the market and can also be prepared at home as the ingredients (sugar, salt and water) are found in almost every household.
Benefits Of Oral Rehydration Salt
It can be made with 6 level teaspoons of sugar and 1/2 level teaspoon of salt dissolved in 1 litre of clean water (about five 8-ounce cups). One must be very careful to mix the correct amounts. Too much sugar can make diarrhoea worse. Too much salt can be extremely harmful to the child. One of these drinks can be given to the child every time a watery stool is passed.
Ideally, these drinks should contain
- sugars and starches as a source of glucose and energy
- some sodium and
- preferably some potassium
Commercial and homemade ORS
Commercial oral rehydration solutions (WHO recommended) usually comes in a sachet form where the powder or granules can be added to clean drinking water. It may be flavoured to make it more palatable. Homemade oral rehydrating solutions are easy to make. It is sometimes in the form of a simple broth and even includes solutions such as rice water which is readily available in the home environment in some regions.
- Importance of Being Hydrated: However, it has been found that the osmotic effects of some of these homemade solutions may worsen diarrhoea, especially if ingredients are not mixed in the right proportions. Therefore, commercial solvents have a reduced osmolarity to prevent this effect.
- Oral Rehydration Solution (ORS): Homemade ORS should be taken until a commercial ORS can be acquired (as a temporary alternative). Medical attention should also be sought! Do you know that oral rehydration therapy may not be sufficient in some cases? Hospitalization and an IV drip may ultimately be necessary.
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