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World ORS Day 2023

Jul 27 2023 / Posted in Child nutrition

- By Dr Harvinder Kaur Palaha, MD (Paed), Consultant Paediatrician and Neonatologist, Holy Family Hospital

World ORS Day 2023 is celebrated on July 29 every year. Oral Rehydration Solution (ORS) is a mixture of water with sugar and salts. It helps maintain electrolyte balance in your body by replacing salts that have been lost. ORS is given to elders and babies who suffer from dehydration or diarrhoea. Diarrhoea leads to the loss of electrolytes such as potassium, chloride, sodium, and water. 

You can get dehydration if there is excessive fluid loss along with electrolyte imbalance.

A person with diarrhoea is like a leaking bucket. If you do not replenish the fluid loss, the bucket becomes empty. Dehydration affects the kidneys and leads to loss of stamina and fatigue. The ORS helps in treating diarrhoea and dehydration. 

A Few Causes of Dehydration are:

1. Continuous vomiting

2. Diarrhoea and related diseases

3. Children's lack of fluid intake

Signs of dehydration:

1. Increased thirst

2. Dry tongue

3. Sunken Eyes

4. Reduced urine output

Importance of World ORS Day

Even though diarrhoea is curable, educating people and creating awareness around ORS is important. According to the WHO (World Health Organisation), diarrhoea-related diseases are the second most common cause of death in below five years old children. In fact, it is India's third most common cause of children's death. 

Diarrhoea affects around 1.7 billion children worldwide every year. More than 5.25 lakh children die every year worldwide due to diarrhoea. The seniors and children who die from diarrhoea die because they suffer severe dehydration and loss of fluids. ORS is a cost-effective way to combat dehydration caused by several diseases. 

 ORS promotion started in the early 20th century by WHO and UNICEF. The Government of India actively tries to promote ORS usage and its benefits. 

How Does ORS Help?

ORS replaces the essential and lost fluids with a combination of water and sugar. It helps the gut to absorb electrolytes. It not only prevents dehydration but also reverses it. ORS works on 90 to 95 percent of patients who have diarrhoea. 

How to make ORS?

Homemade ORS -

In one glass of boiled and cooled water, add one teaspoon of sugar and one pinch of salt. You can use it till the ORS packet is available.

Parents can provide their children with the following quantity of ORS

- 50-100 ml of fluid for children under two years

- 100-200 ml of fluid for children between two and ten years 

- Adults and older children can have as much as they want

How are Children given ORS?

It would be best if you gave children ORS regularly in small quantities. You can use a dropper or a spoon to ensure that the initial doses are small. Small doses are recommended because it helps children to retain it and prevent vomiting. Subsequently, as the recommended dose increases, parents can increase the amount of ORS. 

Feeding in recovery from Diarrhoea

- An increased amount of calories during convalescence with energy-dense foods (enriched foods with fats and sugar)

- Feed an extra meal (for at least two weeks after diarrhoea stops)

- Give extra breastfeeds as often as the child wants


ORS is a lifesaver and is a highly affordable medical option to treat dehydration among children and adults. You should use ORS in times of need and create awareness around it.

It is rightly termed the miracle of the 20th Century.