World ORS Day, celebrated on July 29 every year, is the day when benefits of oral rehydration solution are highlighted. As the name suggests, ORS is the solution to the dehydration problem. They are easily available in pharmacies, but in emergency situations, you must know a way to have it. Even if you don’t keep the ORS sachets in your kitchen, you will find its ingredients without fail. Read on to find out what those ingredients are and how to make ORS at home.
What is ORS?
ORS is oral rehydration solution, which is a specifically formulated for dehydration, says Vasudevan. It contains water that has been boiled or is taken from a commercially sealed bottle, and electrolytes, also called salts. It also has carbohydrates, usually in the form of sugar. Bawa says electrolytes are electrically charged minerals that play a role in nerve function, muscle contraction, pH regulation and water balance. There can be electrolyte imbalances if you were doing an intense activity or were ill. They lead to dehydration. Electrolyte imbalances can be harmful to the health, so it is important to take action to restore this balance.
Tips to make ORS at home
You don’t need too many ingredients to prepare ORS at home.
• 1 liter of clean and safe drinking water (boiled and cooled if possible)
• Sugar (25 gram)
• Table salt (2.5 gram)
• Start by sterilising a clean container with a lid that can hold one liter of water.
• Add one liter of clean, safe drinking water to the container. If you have the means to boil the water, do so and allow it to cool before using.
• Measure and add sugar to the water and stir until the sugar gets completely dissolved.
• Add salt to the solution and stir until the salt gets dissolved. Once all the ingredients are thoroughly mixed, the home-made ORS is ready to be used.
Vasudevan says if you mix excess salt or sugar in ORS, it can worsen diarrhoea symptoms by drawing more water into the intestines. Maintaining the correct balance of electrolytes and glucose in ORS is crucial for efficient rehydration and to avoid complications. Also, cover the container to prevent contamination.
If you are looking at a “natural ORS” after an exercise or a match, try having tender coconut water. It is rich in electrolytes like potassium, sodium, magnesium, and calcium, making it an effective rehydration solution on its own.
Bawa says you can also make an electrolyte-boosting smoothie for rehydration!
• 2 cups of unsweetened coconut water.
• 2 bananas
• 2 stalk celery
• ½ mango chunks (frozen)
• 1 teaspoon of fresh ginger root
• Add all the ingredients to the blender and make a puree until smooth then put ice.
Bawa says this smoothie has fruits and vegetables that naturally contain electrolytes. Bananas have lots of potassium, while celery contains sodium, magnesium and potassium.
How often do we need ORS?
The frequency of ORS consumption can vary based on factors like age, underlying health conditions and the specific cause of dehydration, says Vasudevan. But if it is mild dehydration, it’s usually sufficient to drink ORS and other fluids until the symptoms improve. Drinking ORS two to four times a day, along with regular sips of water, can be beneficial.
So if you want a simple way to treat and prevent dehydration during conditions like severe diarrhea, vomiting and excessive sweating, have ORS.