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Oral rehydration therapy for diarrhea

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Diarrhoea are gastrointestinal diseases that lead to loss of fluids and salts from the body to a large extent in the form of loose stools and vomiting. Patients feel weak, dizzy, energy-less and dehydrated due to outflow of vital electrolytes and water. Oral rehydration therapy is a simple and effective technique to deal with such symptoms. We shall explain more about it in the next content.

How does oral rehydration therapy work?

Oral rehydration therapy begins at home and is a great way to manage diarrhoea. Diarrhoea usually lasts for a day or 3, during which you need to consume enough fluids and electrolytes to restore your body’s hydration. The composition or the osmolality of the oral rehydration solution is pre designed to enhance the fluid and salt absorption ability of the intestine.

You should begin the therapy immediately at home if your child is experiencing diarrhoea.

How to start oral rehydration therapy

You can either prepare the oral rehydration solution (ORS) at home or buy the readymade sachet from a local drug store. ORS packets are readily available. The powder is a balanced mixture of glucose, sodium, potassium, chloride and citrate. All you have to do is read the instructions mentioned in the packet and prepare the solution exactly at recommended.

Prepare oral rehydration solution at home

Preparing oral rehydration solution is not a rocket science. You have to bring 1 litre of drinking water. Make sure it’s filtered or has been boiled. Now measure 6 teaspoons of sugar and 1/teaspoon of salt. Add them in the water and stir until the salt and sugar dissolve completely.

Store this solution and drink it throughout the day.

Oral rehydration therapy initiation

The standard dosing for oral rehydration therapy (ORT) is as follows:

  • Babies under 6 months of age- 30 to 90 ml 1 to 3 oz.) every hour
  • Children 6 months to 2 years of age- 90 to 125 mL (3 to 4 oz.) every hour
  • Over 2 years of age- 125 to 250 mL (4 to 8 oz.) every hour

Benefits of using oral rehydration therapy for diarrhea

ORT is no doubt the first line of management for loose motions. Once you initiate the treatment, you are benefitted in the following way.

  • It reduces stool output volume efficiently
  • Stops vomiting  and improves general health
  • Stabilizes fluid and electrolyte balance of the body
  • Prevents dehydration in children and adults
  • Eliminates the need of IV drip lines

How effective is oral rehydration therapy in managing diarrhea?

ORT has been used since years before. It is 90-95% effective in managing acute diarrhoea. If the symptoms improve then IV drip lines are not needed at all. However, one should know that oral rehydration therapy is a management tool for dysentery and diarrhoea and it’s not a treatment or cure. If your heath issue has resulted from an infection then you must get it treated.

Points to remember before initiating oral rehydration therapy

Make sure you measure the amount correctly before dissolving in water. Overdose of salt and sugar would make the condition worse
Although oral rehydration therapy is absolutely safe to be initiated at home, you should call your doctor once to report your condition
Always wash your hands with antiseptic or normal soap and water before preparing the solution. Avoid touching the ingredients with your hands and use the spoon for this purpose.

Written by: healthplus24.com team

Date last updated: December 09, 2014

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