Established by the Indian Academy of Pediatrics Diarrheal diseases, Oral Rehydration Solution or ORS day is observed on July 29 every year to create awareness about Oral Rehydration Salts, also called ORS, a solution containing essential electrolytes and sugar that can save many lives across the world. 

The diarrheal infection causes millions of deaths across the globe; hence World ORS Day is observed to remember the victory over pandemics that were rampant a few hundred years ago. United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) started promoting the use of ORS around the 21st century.
World ORS Day 2022 

A simple remedy to fight fatal illnesses, ORS is a well-formulated mixture of essential minerals used to combat the loss of fluids in the body. The combination of electrolytes and sugar stimulates water and electrolyte absorption from the gut. It reverses dehydration and replaces lost salts in conditions such as diarrhoea and vomiting. An inexpensive solution replete with electrolytes, it is given to treat severe dehydration. In the 18th and early 19th centuries, diseases like diarrhea and cholera were huge pandemics, causing many to lose their lives. Formulated in the 1960s by doctors as well as researchers working in Bangladesh, unlike saline intravenous drips to treat gastrointestinal infection, ORS could be prepared at home. 

The potential of ORS in countries with poor medical facilities was enormous. A 2010 meta-analysis estimated that 100% coverage of ORS could prevent about ninety percent of diarrheal deaths.

Also Read: Dehydration: Causes, Symptoms, And Treatment

How To Prepare ORS?

Dehydration is dangerous. It not only leads to instant fatigue and loss of stamina but also affects the kidneys. Other causes of dehydration include excessive sweating, severe diabetes, and lack of fluid intake. ORS is an effective method for treating dehydration and diarrhoea. A power-boosting glucose-electrolyte solution that helps in regaining lost electrolytes, ORS should not be added to juices, soups, soft drinks, or milk products. It should be mixed in water and, upon stirring, should be consumed immediately. 

World Health Organisation states that ORS needs to have four basic ingredients, which are:

  • 3.5 grams of sodium chloride (common salt)
  • 2.9 grams of trisodium citrate, dihydrate
  • 1.5 grams of potassium chloride
  • 20 grams of glucose (sugar)

Myths On ORS You Need To Stop Believing

It is imperative that we should clear our misconceptions pertaining to ORS and make optimal usage of it. Here are some misconceptions to know about World ORS Day to help create awareness of this life-saving liquid.

Myth #1: 

ORS can be made instantly at home, and it is the same like the medicinal ones


Not true. It is one of the most common myths about ORS. While it is possible to make electrolyte water at home by mixing salt and sugar in the water, its effectiveness is not at par with the WHO recommend ORS formulation that contains a combination of sodium chloride, sodium citrate, potassium chloride, and dextrose in the right proportions. The quantity and type of minerals formulated to make a befitting solution may not match the precision when made at home.

Myth #2: 

ORS is available over the counter, so any brand is fine


Though there are many suppliers offering ORS solutions all of them may not be fit for consumption during dehydration or diarrhea. Only WHO recommended brands that contain accurate ORS formulations should be used to reduce the risk of deterioration. The approved solutions contain glucose, carbohydrate, sodium, potassium, and chloride in specific quantities and has an exact osmolarity of 245 mOsm/L.

Myth #3: 

ORS is for children, while aerated drinks are for adults


Any kind of fizz beverages or energy or drinks is not fit for anyone who is sick or otherwise, as most of them contain high quantities of sugar and other sweetening ingredients, which are unhealthy and are not fit to treat dehydration. The best is to refrain from consuming these drinks and stick to the ORS solution.

Myth #4: 

Water hydrates you as much as ORS does


Water cannot be a substitute for ORS when dehydrated. Water, of course, is a good source of hydration, but it can quench your thirst and not treat you. Diarrhea leads to the loss of water as well as electrolytes such as sodium, chloride, and potassium. If the electrolyte imbalance is not maintained, it leads to excessive dehydration and further complications. If you are thirsty, you can have water, but it cannot be a substitute for ORS. 

Myth #5: 

ORS needs to be injected


A very popular myth among small towns, ORS does not require to be intravenously injected, and it can be consumed safely by all age groups, including infants. Besides being safe, no medical supervision is needed to administer ORS. In fact, ORS will start to show results within minutes of its consumption.