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World ORS Day 2021: Let's Debunk Some Common Myths About Oral Rehydration Salts

World ORS Day 2021: Oral Rehydration Salts (ORS) is a well - formulated mixture of essential minerals used to combat such imbalances in the body.

World ORS Day 2021: Lets Debunk Some Common Myths About Oral Rehydration Salts

Oral Rehydration Salts is a well - formulated mixture of essential minerals

Our bodies require some essential minerals like sodium, potassium, calcium and many others called electrolytes that are crucial for daily well-being. They maintain apt levels of fluids in the body, in addition to carrying out other vital functions such as muscle contractions, transmission of impulses across nerves among others. However, when the body loses water and electrolytes due to illnesses or infections, an imbalance is created. For instance, when children suffer from diarrhoea, they undergo loss of water and electrolytes, which ultimately leads to dehydration.

Oral Rehydration Salts (ORS) is a well - formulated mixture of essential minerals used to combat such imbalances in the body. The elements are scientifically combined to maximize the efficiency of the sodium-glucose co-transport system, further arming the body with the necessary amount of electrolytes to fight dehydration. Its long proven efficacy in fuelling rehydration makes it a part of the World Health Organisation's (WHO) "List of essential medicines".


Popular myths around ORS

It is imperative that we keep misconceptions pertaining to ORS at bay to optimize and foster appropriate usage.

Myth: Since ORS is available over the counter, purchasing any brand should be effective

Fact: Indeed, there are a large number of suppliers offering these solutions; however, all of them may not be fit for consumption during dehydration or diarrhea. Only those products or brands that contain ORS formulations as recommended by the WHO should be used in such situation. This approved solution contains glucose, carbohydrate, sodium, potassium and chloride in specific quantities, and has an osmolarity of 245 mOsm/L.

Myth: Electrolyte water can be easily made at home and does not have to be bought

Fact: This is one of the most common myths about ORS. It is possible to make electrolyte water at home by mixing salt and sugar in the water, but its effectiveness can't be directly matched with the WHO recommend ORS formulation. The WHO recommended formulation, on the other hand, contains a tried and tested combination of sodium chloride, sodium citrate, potassium chloride, and dextrose. The quantity and type of minerals required to make a befitting solution are not possible or available at home. Further, the effectiveness of a homemade substitute cannot be matched with scientifically produced options.

Myth: ORS is for children, energy/sports drinks are for adults

Fact: Fizzy, energy or sports drinks are not fit for anyone as most of them contain high quantities of sugar and other sweetening ingredients, which are unhealthy and do not prevent or treat dehydration due to diarrhea. One should refrain from consuming these drinks and stick to ORS for best results.

ORS comes handy on several occasions. If you are travelling with your child then don't forget to make it a part of your travel kit. While purchasing the solution, be watchful of whether or not it has the WHO recommendation label on the packaging.

(Dr. Usha Chennuru, Director, Medical Services with Cipla Health Ltd.)


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