Experts stress drinking WHO-recommended ORS

Experts stress drinking WHO-recommended ORS

  • NFHS-5 data shows only 60.6% children with diarrhea receive ORS
  • Brands like Prolyte, Dr Morepen, Walyte offer WHO-compliant ORS
  • Homemade solutions or sugary drinks risk worsening dehydration
  • ORS crucial for combating diarrhea, a top cause of child mortality

Hyderabad: Health experts have stressed on the citizens to consume only the WHO recommended ORS and not sugary drinks for dehydration and emphasised the vital role of ORS use as diarrhea-threatening to the lives of children amid the summer surge.

India, with its scorching summers, faces the critical challenge of combating dehydration, particularly among children, where diarrhea ranks as the third leading cause of mortality. Despite Oral Rehydration Salts (ORS) being an essential medicine, recent NFHS-5 data shows that only 60.6 per cent children with diarrhea receive ORS, highlighting the need for increased awareness and proper utilisation.

Chief consultant pediatrician Dr Sivaranjani Santosh highlighting the essential role of ORS in managing diarrhea and dehydration in children, noted, “Diarrhoea leads to rapid fluid and electrolyte loss, resulting in severe dehydration. ORS is a straightforward yet highly effective remedy that restores fluids and electrolytes, ensuring quicker recovery for children under five’.

‘It's crucial to understand that ORS is not only effective but also safe. Incorrect salt or sugar mixtures can be harmful. Proper dehydration treatment requires an exact balance of water and electrolytes. Using improper home-made solutions or high-sugar drinks can upset this balance, leading to serious health risks, including worsening dehydration and, in extreme cases, death.”

To ensure proper hydration during the summer season, a public awareness campaign highlights the importance of WHO-compliant ORS solutions. Recognisable brands like Prolyte ORS, Dr Morepen ORS, or ORS Walyte ORS adhere to these standards, offering a safe and effective way to combat dehydration, said Dr Sivaranjani.

Vijay Marie Hospital head of the pediatrics department, Dr M Surendranath, highlighted the necessity of making informed decisions when choosing ORS, especially with rising temperatures increasing its need, stating, selecting the right ORS is essential to effectively treat diarrhea and dehydration, particularly in the hotter months when such conditions are more prevalent. It's important to differentiate between ORS and commercially available sugary drinks.

While these beverages may provide some electrolytes and fluids, they lack the precise glucose, sodium, and potassium balance required for rapid and effective rehydration. Therefore, using WHO-approved ORS formulations instead of sugary beverages is crucial for maintaining overall health, said Surendranath. ‘This is especially important for children, who are more vulnerable to the effects of dehydration during the summer’, he added.

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