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Consume W.H.O-Recommended ORS, Not Sugary Drinks, for Dehydration: Experts

Chandigarh, June 3, 2024: India, with its scorching summers, faces a critical challenge of combating dehydration, particularly among children, where diarrhoea 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% of children with diarrhoea receive ORS, highlighting the need for increased awareness and proper utilization.

Dr. Suresh Kumar Angurana, Associate Professor ,Department of Pediatrics, Advanced Pediatric Centre, PGIMER, Chandigarh highlights the importance of using the Oral Rehydration Solution (ORS) to prevent and treat dehydration in children with acute diarrhoea. He explained that “It is crucial to choose the ORS recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) to combat acute diarrhoea and dehydration. It is important to understand the difference between the WHO recommended ORS solution and sugary/energy/electrolyte drinks. These sugary/energy/electrolyte drinks may provide some electrolytes and fluids. However, they lack the precise glucose, sodium, and potassium content, which is essential for prevention and treatment of dehydration. Thus, using WHO recommended ORS is vital for prevention and treatment of dehydration in children with acute diarrhoea.”


Dr Vikram Bedi , MBBS,MD(Paediatrics), Consultant Bedi Hospital, Member of Indian Academy of Pediatrics (IAP) highlights the critical role of Oral Rehydration Solution (ORS) in managing diarrhoea and dehydration in young children, stating, “Diarrhoea is a battle against dehydration, and ORS is our weapon. ORS is a simple yet effective solution that restores these essential components, facilitating quicker recovery for children under five. It's crucial to understand that ORS is not only effective but also safe. Using the wrong balance of salt or sugar can be harmful. Effective dehydration management needs a precise mix of water and electrolytes. Using improper homemade solutions or sugary drinks can disrupt this balance, leading to severe health risks, including worsening dehydration and, in extreme cases, death.”


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

It is critical to make informed choices. When faced with dehydration, prioritize WHO-approved ORS solutions over other sugar-laden drinks unsuitable for treating dehydration. By understanding the benefits of ORS and its appropriate use, we can empower individuals and families to become heroes of their own health, particularly during the hot summer months. This knowledge can help save the lives of thousands of children every year.

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