Oral Rehydration Therapy

ORS (Oral Rehydration Therapy) and Diarrhea The aim of oral fluid therapy is to prevent dehydration and reduce mortality.

The mainstay of treatment of diarrheal diseases in children is the use of oral re–hydrating solutions. It was introduced by WHO in 1971. It has greatly simplified the treatment of cholera and other acute diarrheal diseases. The majority of cases of acute diarrhea can be treated by oral fluid alone.

Oral fluid therapy is based on the observation that glucose given orally enhances the intestinal absorption of salt and water, and is capable of correcting the electrolyte and water deficit.

Composition of ORS – bicarbonate

Ingredient Quantity
Sodium Chloride 3.5g
Sodium Bicarbonate 2.5g
Potassium Chloride 1.5g
Glucose (Dextrose) 20.0g
Potable Water 1 litre

The inclusion of trisodium citrate in the place of sodium bicarbonate can make the product more stable. Packets of oral re–hydration mixture are now freely available at all primary health centers, sub–centers and hospitals.

Guidelines for oral rehydration therapy (for all ages) during the first four hours.
Age Under 4 months 4–11 months 12–23 months 2–4 years 5–14 years 15 yrs or over
Weight under 5 5–7.9 8–10.9 11–15.9 16–29.9 30 or over
ORS solution (ml) 200–400 400–600 600–800 800–1.200 1.200–2.200 2.200–4.000

The approximate amount of ORS required in ml may also be calculated by multiplying the patient’s weight (expressed in kg) by 75. In children, the amount of fluid to be given is based on the weight of the child.