ORS for health, not for taste

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Published on October 28, 2021 by

Diarrhoea in children worsens due to the consumption of flavored Oral Rehydration Salt with high sugar content.

Bengaluru : According to the doctors, there has been an increase in the consumption of flavored ORS in diarrhoea patients which has led to severe dehydration.

Nita Ghosh, a freelancer, said, she would feed her son whichever flavor he liked more and usually would not pay attention to the sugar and salt content. She noticed it would not help much in recovery and hence consulted a doctor. After consultation she found that non-flavored ORS with pro-biotics would help cure the condition faster.

According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information report, diarrhoea is the third leading cause of death among infants, claiming the lives of around 3 lakh children in India every year, despite it being easily curable. Dr. Suman Rath, a pediatrician from Bangalore Baptist Hospital, said, “High sugar content in ORS worsens diarrhoea in children. We see a lot of parents coming in with their children complaining about the decline in health after consuming flavored ORS.”

Dr. Prakash Vemgal, Director, Department of Neonatology & Pediatrics, Rainbow Children’s Hospital, said, “Glucose should be around 13.5 percent per litre, both less and more sugar content are not good for health. When you add more sugar, the body tries to absorb whatever sugar and the rest it dumps out. The kidneys absorb extra sugar and dump out more water with glucose, so in a child which is already compromised passing more watery stool start passing more urine leading to severe dehydration. So you should not add more sugar because it will cause watery diarrhoea.”

ORS is easily available at all medical clinics. M Lalit Kumar, pharmacist at Model Medical Store said the demand for flavored ORS is higher. Hence, they only keep those and not WHO recommended ones.

Dr. Suman Rath, Peditrician in Bangalore Baptist Hospital say that women in rural areas are not aware about using the right concentration for preparing ORS in times of need when compared to urban women. They still are inclined towards using home remedies for treating diarrhoea. Also they added that there is a delay in treating those patients as there is delay in diagnosis.

Accredited Social Health Activist (ASHA) workers do regular field trips in slums and villages to educate people about using the right concentrations and help diagnose cases at early stages. Roshni Jain, a community health specialist, said, her team would try and create awareness among people about how only by creating the right proportioned ORS and giving zinc tablets severe diarrhoea can be easily escape.

 

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