Ask your doctor if you need to take ORS drinks. If you have severe diarrhea or vomiting your body will lose fluids which can lead to dehydration. If so you'll notice increased thirst dry mouth sleepiness less frequent urination dark yellow urine headache dry skin and dizziness. If you experience any of these symptoms call your doctor. You'll probably be told to start taking ORS drinks if the symptoms aren't severe.
Left untreated dehydration can become severe. Severe dehydration symptoms include: very dry mouth and skin very dark yellow or brown urine loss of skin elasticity lowered pulse rate sunken eyes seizure generalized body weakness and even coma. If you or the person you’re caring for show severe dehydration symptoms get emergency help.
Understand how ORS drinks can prevent severe dehydration. ORS drinks are designed to replace lost salt content and improve absorption of water by the body. At the first signs of dehydration you should take ORS. This mainly helps by re-hydrating the body. It is easier to prevent dehydration early on by drinking ORS drinks than to cure it.
Severe dehydration will require hospitalization and intravenous fluid administration. But if caught early ORS drinks can be prepared at home to treat mild dehydration.
Learn how to take ORS drinks. Sip ORS drinks throughout the day. You can drink it along with eating meals. If you vomit take a break from drinking ORS. Wait 10 minutes then drink the solution again. If you're nursing and treating a baby you must continue breastfeeding while treating with ORS. You can keep using ORS until diarrhea has stopped. The following tells you how much ORS you must give to:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Main public health institute for the US run by the Dept. of Health and Human Services
Babies and toddlers: 0.5 liter of ORS drink every 24 hours
Children (2 to 9 years old): 1 liter of ORS drink every 24 hours
Children (more than 10 years old) and adults: 3 liters (0.79 US gal) of ORS drink every 24 hours
Know when to see a doctor if you're suffering from diarrhea. Symptoms should start to disappear a few hours after drinking the ORS solution. You should start urinating more and the urine will start to look light yellow or almost clear. If symptoms do not improve or if any of the following symptoms begin get immediate medical help:
presence of blood in diarrhea or black tarry stools
very dehydrated (feeling dizzy lethargic sunken eyes no urination in the past 12 hours)
Making Your Own ORS Solution
Wash your hands. Thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water before preparing the drink. Make sure you have a clean pitcher or bottle ready.
Gather the ingredients. To make your own ORS solution you’ll need:
table salt (such as Kosher salt iodized salt or sea salt)
granulated or powdered sugar
Mix the dry ingredients. Add a half-teaspoon of table salt and 2 tablespoons of sugar into a clean container. You can use granulated or powdered sugar.
If you don't have a teaspoon to measure you can use a fistful scoop of sugar and a three-finger pinch of salt. But this is not accurate and is not recommended.
Wilcox WD Miller JJ. The inaccuracy of three-finger pinch method of determining salt content in homemade sugar-salt solutions. Wilderness Environ Med 1996;7(2):122-126.
Add one liter of clean drinking water. If you cannot measure out a liter add about 4¼ cups of water (each cup is about 237 ml). Only use clean water. The water can be bottled water or recently boiled and cooled water.
Be sure to only use water. Milk soup fruit juice or soft drinks cannot be used since they will make the ORS ineffective.
te Loo DM van der Graaf F Ten WT. The effect of flavoring oral rehydration solution on its composition and palatability. J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr 2004;39(5):545-548.
Don't add any extra sugar.
Stir well and drink. Use a spoon or whisk to mix the ORS powder into the water. After a minute or so of vigorous stirring the solution should be completely dissolved. Now it is ready to drink.
ORS solution can be refrigerated for 24 hours. Do not store it any longer.
Oral Cavity Rehydration Salts (ORS) is a special drink made up of sugars salts and clean water. It can help replace fluid loss from severe diarrhea or vomiting. Studies have shown ORS to be as effective as intravenous fluid administration when treating dehydration.
ORS drinks can be made using purchased packets like Pedialyte® Infalyte® and Naturalyte®. You can also make ORS drinks at home using clean water salt and sugar.