Oral rehydration Solution – ORS

Oral Rehydration Solution, also called ORS.

Home made ORS recipe
Preparing a 1 (one) litre oral rehydration solution [ORS] using Salt, Sugar and Water at Home
Mix an oral rehydration solution using  one of the following recipes; depending on ingredients and container availability:
    * one level teaspoon of salt
    * eight level teaspoons of sugar
    * one litre of clean drinking or boiled water and then cooled
      5 cupfuls (each cup about 200 ml.)
Preparation Method:
Stir the mixture till the salt and sugar dissolve.
Questions on Solutions made at Home
Q.  How do I measure the Salt and Sugar?
Different countries and different communities use various methods for measuring the salt and sugar.
    * Finger pinch and hand measuring, and the use of local teaspoons can be taught successfully.
    * A plastic measuring spoon is available from Teaching Aids at Low Cost (TALC) with proportions to make up 200 ml of sugar/salt solution.
Whatever method is used, people need to be carefully instructed in how to mix and use the solutions.
Do not use too much salt. If the solution has too much salt the child may refuse to drink it.  Also, too much salt can, in extreme cases, cause convulsions. Too little salt does no harm but is less effective in preventing dehydration.
“A rough guide to the amount of salt is that the solution should taste no saltier than tears.”

Q.  How much solution do I feed?

“Feed after every loose motion”
Adults and large children should drink at least 3 quarts or liters of ORS a day until they are well.
Each Feeding:
    * For a child under the age of two
      Between a quarter and a half of a large cup
    * For older children
      Between a half and a whole large cup
For Severe Dehydration:
Drink sips of the ORS (or give the ORS solution to the conscious dehydrated person) every 5 minutes until urination becomes normal. (It’s normal to urinate four or five times a day.)
Q.  How do I feed the solution?
    * Give it slowly, preferably with a teaspoon.
    * If the child vomits it, give it again.
The drink should be given from a cup (feeding bottles are difficult to clean properly). Remember to feed sips of the liquid slowly.
Q.  What if the child vomits?
If the child vomits, wait for ten minutes and then begin again. Continue to try to feed the drink to the child slowly, small sips at a time.
The body will retain some of the fluids and salts needed even though there is vomiting.
Q.  For how long do I feed the liquids?
Extra liquids should be given until the diarrhoea has stopped. This will usually take between three and five days.
Q.  How do I store the ORS solution?

Store the liquid in a cool place. Chilling the ORS may help. If the child still needs ORS after 24 hours, make a fresh solution.
10 Things you should know about Rehydrating a child.
   1. Wash your hands with soap and water before preparing solution. 
   2. Prepare a solution, in a clean pot, by mixing
      – one teaspoon salt and 8 teaspoons sugar
      – 1 packet of Oral Rehydration Salts (ORS)
      – with one litre of clean drinking or boiled water (after cooled)
      Stir the mixture till all the contents dissolve.

   3. Wash your hands and the baby’s hands with soap and water before feeding solution.

   4. Give the sick child as much of the solution as it needs, in small amounts frequently.

   5. Give child alternately other fluids – such as breast milk and juices.

   6. Continue to give solids if child is four months or older.

   7. If the child still needs ORS after 24 hours, make a fresh solution.

   8. ORS does not stop diarrhoea. It prevents the body from drying up. The diarrhoea will stop by itself.

   9. If child vomits, wait ten minutes and give it ORS again. Usually vomiting will stop.

  10. If diarrhoea increases and /or vomiting persists, take child over to a health clinic.

Article by Dr. Rajat Srivastava

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