Oral Re-hydration Solution (ORS) : Why this formula is so important?

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Oral Re-hydration Solution or ORS is a very common household name to treat dehydration and related symptoms in tropical countries. This re-hydration therapy is quite beneficial and easy to control the dehydration related situation from getting worse at home.

As this article is all about the therapeutic solution of dehydration, let us understand what is dehydration and the etiology of it.

What is Dehydration?

Dehydration can be explained as the condition when the body loses excess fluid, with or without salts, and if that condition is not treated or the fluid is not replaced then body starts to react. Dehydration can be mild, moderate to severe. If the mild symptoms of dehydration is not treated seriously it may lead to life-threatening situation.

Etiology of Dehydration

There can be different causes of dehydration, they are as follows:

  • Diseases of gastrointestinal tract, like- diarrhea, vomiting leads to dehydration situation
  • Infections that causes food poisoning and due to this dehydration is common.
  • Certain illnesses, like- diabetes induce abnormal urination which ultimately causes dehydration of the body.
  • Use of diuretics to treat some diseases also lead to dehydration.
  • Excessive perspiration due to heavy work or high humid temperature causes dehydration, it is very common during the summer season.
  • Not consuming enough water or fluid is another reason that body gets dehydrated.
  • Long-term alcoholism also causes dehydration.

Symptoms of Dehydration

Symptoms of dehydration includes:

  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Feeling of tiredness
  • Dry mouth, Lips and eyes
  • Less Urination
  • Dark Urine
  • Feeling thirsty
  • Severe dehydration can lead to change in body’s essential chemical composition and emergency situation, like kidney failure.

How to Prevent Dehydration?

It is always better to prevent something from happening at first place. So, One should drink enough amount of water and other fluids to maintain body’s fluid balance.

If somehow dehydration occurs and the symptoms are prominent, the first step is to start the re-hydration therapy orally to replenish the lost water and minerals and bring back the fluid-electrolytes balance in body.

The Oral Re-hydration Solution helps in this therapy at home. ORS sachets are readily available in medical shops and also government health centers distribute ORS sachets free of cost. Here is the formula of ORS:

The Formula of ORS:

The Composition of Oral Rehydration Solution (ORS) as recommended by WHO
The Composition of Oral Rehydration Solution (ORS) as recommended by WHO

If ORS packets are not available during the time of emergency, home-made solution can be introduced to control the situation. Here is the formula of Home-made ORS which requires: normal salt, sugar and potable water( Boiled then cooled).

Homemade ORS composition

A few things to remember:

To conclude, a few things are necessary to keep in mind:

  • Try to keep at least 1-2 sachets of ORS at home always.
  • If you are having diarrhea, without any delay, start taking ORS, it will stop dehydration at the very beginning.
  • If the dehydration is not under control even after taking ORS,the patient should be transferred to hospital for special medical supervision.
  • If one has a certain medical condition, they should refrain from taking ORS without permission from the doctor.
  • In case of infants, from the very beginning, special care should be taken.
  • Drink plenty of water and fluids, like fruit juice.
  • Avoid consuming carbonated bevarages

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