Oral rehydration solutions

What are oral rehydration solutions?

Oral rehydration solutions (ORS) are used to treat dehydration caused by diarrhea, a common illness in travellers. Unlike other fluids, the ratio of the ingredients in an ORS matches what the body needs to recover from a diarrheal illness.

An ORS contains 3 ingredients:

  1. Clean water that has been boiled or disinfected or from a commercially sealed bottle.
  2. Electrolytes (also called “salts”), which are chemicals that your body needs to function properly.
  3. Carbohydrates, usually in the form of sugar.

How and when should an oral rehydration solution be used?

Age Amount
Children under 2 years 50–100 mL (¼ to ½ cup) after each episode of diarrhea
Children 2 to 9 years 100–200 mL (½ to 1 cup) after each episode of diarrhea
Persons 10 years or older As much as wanted, up to approximately 2L (8½ cups) a day

Preparing oral rehydration solutions

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