ORS Day is celebrated every year on 29th July to highlight the importance of Oral Rehydration Salts (ORS) as a cost-effective method of health intervention.
Oral rehydration salts contain a variety of salts (electrolytes) and sugar. The combination of electrolytes and sugar stimulates water and electrolyte absorption from the gut. It, therefore, prevents or reverses dehydration and replaces lost salts in conditions such as diarrhoea and vomiting.
Acute diarrhoeal diseases are one of the leading causes of mortality in infants and young children in many developing countries. According to WHO, diarrhoeal disease is the second leading cause of death in children under five years old. Diarrhoea, which is frequently caused by poor sanitation and hygiene, can have serious, even deadly results, typically as a result of diarrhoea-related dehydration. It particularly affects infants, children and old people. Diarrhoea generally lasts for several days, and leaves the body without water and salts that are necessary for survival. Most people who die from diarrhoea actually die from severe dehydration and fluid loss from the body. Dehydration from diarrhoea can be prevented by giving extra fluids at home, or it can be treated simply and effectively by giving adequate glucose-electrolyte solution called Oral Rehydration Salts (ORS) solution.
Preparation of ORS solution at home:
If ORS packets are not available, one can prepare it at home as well.
- Clean Water – 1 litre – 5 cupful (each cup about 200 ml.)
- Sugar – Six level teaspoons (1 teaspoon = 5grams)
- Salt – Half level teaspoon
- Stir the mixture till the sugar dissolves
The Home-made solution is adequate in most cases and is very effective for rehydration. Be very careful to mix the correct amounts. Too much sugar can make the diarrhoea worse and too much salt can be extremely harmful to the child.