Indian academy of paediatrics Meerut branch, Department of paediatrics, department of community medicine, LLRM medical college Meerut observed “world ORS day” on 29th July 2019.
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. Acute diarrhoeal diseases are one of the leading causes of mortality in infants and young children in many developing countries.
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. ORS Jodi (ORS and zinc) has proven to be successful in the prevention and management of acute diarrhoea and dehydration.
Since WHO adopted ORS in 1978 as its primary tool to fight diarrhoea, the mortality rate for children suffering from acute diarrhoea has fallen from 5 million to 1.3 million deaths annually.
These studies showed that the efficacy of ORS solution for treatment of children with acute non-cholera diarrhoea is improved by reducing its sodium concentration to 75 mEq/l, its glucose concentration to 75 mmol/l, and its total osmolarity to 245 mOsm/l.
Two decades ago diarrhoea was responsible for around 5 million deaths annually. Through major public health efforts primarily aimed at preventing and treating dehydration this figure has decreased to around 2 million deaths. Prevention of dehydration is primarily achieved by ensuring that children with diarrhoea are provided with more fluids than usual, and/or increased frequency of breastfeeding, during the acute episode. The combination of increased home fluids and the use of Oral Rehydration Salts (ORS) for the treatment of dehydration have proven to be a very powerful intervention for the prevention of childhood deaths from diarrhoea.
How to make the ORS drink which is available in powder form. First of all, put the content of the ORS packet in a clean container. Check the packet for direction and add the amount of clean water as indicated. Too little water could make the diarrhoea worse. Add water only. Do not add ORS to milk, soup, fruit juice or any soft drinks. Do not add sugar. Stir well, and feed it to the child from a clean cup. Do not use a bottle. ORS solution should be covered and not kept for more than 24 hours due to risk of bacterial contamination.
If ORS packets are not available, you can prepare it at home as well. Take 1 litre clean water – 5 cup (each cup about 200 ml). Mix with 6 tea spoon (1 teaspoon = 5 gm) and half teaspoon salt. Stir the mixture till sugar dissolves.
This homemade solution is adequate in most cases and is very effective for rehydration. Too much sugar can make the diarrhoea worse and too much salt can be extremely harmful to the child.
Infants should continue to receive breast milk or their usual formula in addition to ORS. Children who are no longer nursing and adults should continue to eat solid food in addition to ORS. Avoid alcohol, caffeinated or sugary drinks like coffee, energy drinks, pop, sweetened fruit juices, and tea. Alcohol and caffeine can worsen dehydration and sugary drinks can worsen diarrhoea. Seek medical attention if the diarrhoea is bloody, is accompanied by a high fever, jaundice (yellow skin), or persistent vomiting, or if dehydration or diarrhoea does not improve despite the use of ORS.