29 09 2022

Two minutes from now, three children somewhere in the world will die from diarrheal disease. And two minutes after that, three more children will die from the same cause. If that doesn't jolt you, picture it as the CDC does: the number of children that die from diarrheal diseases every day is almost equivalent to losing, 32 school buses packed with children!

Diarrhea is the second leading cause of death due to an infectious agent in under-5 children. Most of these deaths occur in Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa, with Nigeria and India being the largest contributors to this dismal statistic.

Fortunately, these deaths can be averted using simple and cost-effective interventions. Unfortunately, many people have little or no knowledge about these interventions.

One of these interventions is known as ORS/ORT, short for Oral Resuscitation Salts or Therapy. It involves the use of glucose-based salt solutions to replace the fluid and some nutrients the child is losing via stooling and vomiting, thus preventing death due to dehydration.

Studies have shown that combined use of ORS and 10 to 14 days of zinc supplementation can reduce childhood deaths from diarrhea.

These days sachets of pre-constituted ORS can be gotten at a local pharmacy or health center. All you need do is follow the instructions judiciously. However, if for some reason you're unable to get the pre-constituted ORS, you can make your own solution in these easy steps:

1.) Wash your hands thoroughly.

2.) Gather the materials you'll be needing to make the solution. They include: 

● 1 litre of clean water (2 sachets of 50cl pure water is equivalent to 1 litre, same as two bottles of 50 cl coca-cola)

● A clean bowl or jug

● 6 level teaspoons of sugar or 6 cubes of sugar or 2 level tablespoons of sugar

● ½ level teaspoon of salt

3.) Mix the aforementioned teaspoons of salt and sugar with a litre of clean water in a clean bowl or jug. 

PS: Ensure you only use clean water: no juice, no milk, no soft drinks. Also, do not add more salt and sugar than is required. Doing this may only worsen the child's diarrhea.

4.) Stir well.

5.) Wash your hands and the child's hands before administration.

6.) The child should be encouraged to drink as much as possible: infants should be given half a litre of ORS per day, while older children (2 years and above) should given a litre of the solution per day.

If stored at room temperature, ORS should be consumed or discarded within 12 hours of preparation; if refrigerated, it should be consumed or discarded within 24 hours.

Usually, the diarrhea stops in 3-4 days. If it persists, do well to consult a trained health worker.

If you have any questions, do drop them in the comments section

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