Oral Rehydration or ORS Day is celebrated every year on the 29th of July.

What is ORS Day about?

Highlighting the importance of ORS, the day is all about spreading awareness regarding the solution that is a proven cost-effective medicine for diarrhoea. With open defecation a major problem in the country, diarrhoea is a common occurrence especially among infants, young children and the geriatric population. ORS and other fluids help in preventing dehydration caused due to diarrhoea. 

How does ORS work?

One of the biggest concerns with diarrhoea is the loss of water and important electrolytes from the body. Dehydration is one of the most common side effects of this condition. When ORS is consumed, the electrolytes and sugar content in it helps in faster absorption of water from the gut. The ORS solution is also able to replace the lost salt in the body. 

Furthermore, remember that small babies hardly have any fluid reserved in their body, making them more susceptible to dehydration and other complications. ORS is an easy solution which would cure dehydration and restore electrolyte balance.

Currently, ORS is readily available in the market in a powdered form in sachets. However, if unable to find ORS, one can easily make the solution at home. 

How to make ORS at home from sachets?

  • Wash hands thoroughly to remove all bacteria and dirt.
  • Empty the contents of the ORS packet in a clean container. Check the packet for directions and add the amount of clean water as indicated. 
  • Add water only as per instruction. Do not add ORS to milk, soup, fruit juice or any soft drinks. 
  • Stir well, and feed it to the child with a clean spoon. Do not use a bottle.

Can I prepare an ORS solution at home?

Do not panic if you are unable to find ORS sachets nearby. The solution can be easily made at home. As per the National Health Portal of India, here’s how: 

  • Clean Water - 1 litre - 5 cups (each cup about 200 ml.)
  • Sugar - Six level teaspoons (1 teaspoon = 5grams)
  • Salt - Half level teaspoon
  • Stir the mixture till the sugar dissolves.

Things need to be noted

  • Be very careful to mix the correct amounts (for home-made ORS.) Too much sugar can make the diarrhoea worse and too much salt can be extremely harmful to the child.
  • Homemade ORS should be covered and not kept for more than 24 hrs.
  • Make sure the water you use is clean. If you’re doubtful about the water, boil it for more than 20 minutes, cool and strain before using it. 
  • Do remember, that the diarrhoea bacteria spread by touching, therefore, remember to wash hands thoroughly with a soap. 

Loss of fluids due to vomiting, diarrhoea also means loss of important electrolytes. ORS has been found to be the most cost-effective medicine which can restore lost electrolytes in the body. This is especially important to prevent further complications.