In this article
What Is ORS?When Does Your Baby Need ORS?How Can You Access ORS?What Quantity of ORS Does Your Baby Need?What Can Be Done If ORS Is Not Available?Are There Any Other Home-Made ORS Drinks Mums Can Prepare?Things to Keep In Mind While Giving Your Child ORS
When a child has diarrhoea or has been vomiting, it is vital that you replace the fluids that he has lost. The most common solution would be to give your baby small sips of water often (if the baby is older than 6 months). But if the diarrhoea or vomiting persists, it is a good idea to ask your doctor if your baby needs ORS. Administering ORS at the right time can make all the difference in protecting your baby from the serious effects of dehydration.
1. What Is ORS?
ORS is a solution that contains a mix of salt, sugar, potassium and other minerals that when mixed in certain quantities help replace the lost salts and fluids. It is a quick solution to re-hydrate the body.
2. When Does Your Baby Need ORS?
The best way to know if your baby needs ORS is to look for the following signs of dehydration -
Excessive dehydration can also cause the following symptoms:
- His eyes look dull or dry
- His lips appear stretched or chapped
- He is lethargic and fussy
- He has not been urinating as often
- There are no tears when crying
- Sunken eyes
- Soft spots on his head
- Cold hands and feet
- Rapid Heartbeat
If you do notice these signs, your baby is suffering from dehydration and needs a dose of ORS. It is best to call your doctor at once, as a precautionary measure, before starting on an ORS dose.
3. How Can You Access ORS?
In most countries, ORS is available in the form of packets in pharmacies. There are also ways to prepare a solution at home. How to Prepare ORS Solution at Home:
Add 6 level teaspoons of sugar and 1/2 a teaspoon of salt to 1 litre of filtered water. Make sure you add these exact amounts as too much sugar can actually worsen the diarrhoea. Too much salt is also harmful to your baby. Note: If you are using the chemist-bought packet, follow the instructions. DO NOT add any fruits, veggies, sugar or any additive to it.
4. What Quantity of ORS Does Your Baby Need?
We may think it is good to get the baby to drink as much a possible to replace the fluids lost. However, it's best to stick to this reference. When your baby is unwell or vomiting, it is unlikely he will be able to consume too much in one go. A child under 2 years of age needs one quarter to half of a 200 ml cup of ORS after each loose motion. If the child is older than 2 years he will need at least 1/2 to 1 250 ml cup of the ORS drink after every watery motion.
You can use a sippy cup to make it easier to administer the right amount of ORS to your child.
5. What Can Be Done If ORS Is Not Available?
If the ingredients for the solution are not available at hand or at a chemist, quickly take your child to the paediatrician for an alternate solution. Dehydration in babies can be fatal and must never be risked.
6. Are There Any Other Home-Made ORS Drinks Mums Can Prepare?
Yes, there are some alternate homemade remedies mums have been using over the years. The following traditional remedies make highly effective oral rehydration solutions and are suitable drinks to prevent a child from losing too much liquid during diarrhoea:
- Gruels (a diluted mix of cereals and water)
- Carrot soup
- Rice water / Congee
- Simple salt and sugar mix mentioned earlier (You can add in 1/2 cup of orange juice or mashed banana to enhance the taste a little bit. Banana adds much needed potassium too!)
- Coconut water
7. Things to Keep In Mind While Giving Your Child ORS
Remember, dehydration in babies must not be taken lightly. It is also good to remember that ORS does not stop diarrhoea, it simply prevents the body from dehydration caused by diarrhoea. Once your baby shows signs of recovery, make sure he gets adequate rest, a nutritious diet, and tons of care to nurse him back to health.
- It is best to wash your hands with soap and water or use a sanitizer before you make the solution.
- Along with ORS keep hydrating your child with other fluids like breastmilk and juices.
- If the child is older than 4 months, you can continue to give him his regular intake of solids. Make a fresh solution every day if the child still needs it.
- If your child is vomiting, wait for 10 minutes before giving him ORS.