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ORS - The Discovery Of Millennium

We all eagerly wait to see monsoons and rains. These lovely showers give life. So as humans rejoice, millions of microorganisms also come to life! Some of these are very harmful. Kids have lower resistance then adults, and easily succumb to these infections.

The commonest problem in this season is gastroenteritis or diarrhoea, as we commonly call it. These germs enter our body through contaminated food or water and make us sick. Gut wall becomes inflamed, it loses its capacity to digest and absorb food. Gut starts losing body fluids through the damaged gut wall. A sick person then has pain in abdomen, vomiting, loose motions and at times fever also. Our body starts losing water and important electrolytes, very fast. Dehydration sets in if this is not corrected. Dehydration is dangerous, and can also be life threatening at times.

Some signs should be kept in mind which indicate danger

- Vomiting not controlled

- Pulse rate too high

- Child passing less urine

- High fever

- Blood mucous in stool

- Child very irritable, not sleeping

- Very dull, lethargic

In such scenario immediately consult your doctor.Normally this disease has a natural course of 4 -5 days. But one has to rehydrate, reiterate and rehydrate, to overcome dangerous dehydration. Doctors all over the world prescribes ORS for treatment of diarrhoea. ORS is the greatest medical invention of this century. It has saved many lives, particularly in developing countries, where sanitation is poor and clean drinking water is not available.

ORS works on a very simple principle, when body loses water some very important electrolytes are also lost. When a particular amount of glucose is added to clean water, the absorption of salt and water is very fast even by the sick gut. The sick gut can absorb ORS, but the proportion has to be correct. Scientists after research have found the exact proportions in which ORS works best. This is available commercially.

In market many readymade ORS sachets are available. Always go for WHO approved ORS. It has the correct formulation.Always follow making instructions on the packet correctly.

Once you make it, it can be kept for 4-5 hours.

- Always give ORS in small sips.

- Children under 2 years should be given about 50 to 100ml ORS per loss from body

- If child vomits, wait for 10 minutes, again start giving ORS in sips

- When waiting to see doctor continue giving ORS.

Many a times mothers gets totally frustrated, when children don't drink ORS. Poor mother is in tears,cleaning the baby, cleaning the mess, making ORS, forcing baby to drink that, checking for urine output etc. All of this becomes too much! To top it all baby simply spits the ORS out!

If baby doesn’t take ORS we can make some substitutes. We can use home available drinks like clean water, rice water, buttermilk with salt, soup, coconut water, kanji etc. When unavailable make an instant ORS at home with one fistful sugar and three-finger pinch of salt to 1 litre clean water.

It can be made with 1 glass of water as well by adding 1 small spoon sugar and a two-finger pinch of salt. A dash of lemon can be added. We have to be cautious not to go overboard with sugar. Concentration of sugar is very important as excess will reverse the effect. Always assess baby’s hydration by checking the urine output.

In mild to moderate dehydration ORS is the best choice. This is the home based treatment that we need to follow when a child suffers from stomach infection.

Dr Sangeeta Nagraj is a well known child specialist doctor with an experience of 21 years in pediatrics. She is also the director of Ekta Institute of Child Health. Dr Nagraj believes that all parents should know the principles of essential child care to promote child health in the country. She has taken up this belief by actively educating thousands of parents in the city.
Connect to your hero Dr Sangeeta Nagraj at sang25eeta@gmail.com

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Samar   |   17, Jul 2016

this is so best