The month of July foretell the beginning of the monsoon season in India specifically and this season lead to the deadly disease called diarrhea.
In today’s time, a case of diarrhea means a casual visit to the nearby doctor followed by a course of medication and eating bland food for few weeks or days as prescribed by the doctor. But do we know that diarrhea is the second biggest killer of infants across the world, with nearly around 800,000 under-fives dying every year reported by UNICEF.
According to the Healthy Minister it has been observed that ‘328 diarrhea deaths happen every day and 13 every hour’ which directly shows that the quarter of deaths occur in India.
So to create the awareness for diarrhea and the need and importance of hydration, Indian Academy of Pediatrics declared 29 July as ORS Day in 2001, with the main aim of reducing childhood diarrhea deaths.
Rotavirus the main cause of diarrhea, results in rapid dehydration, metabolic disturbances, long-term consequences of malnutrition, damaged gut and at worst can lead to death also.
Not all diarrheal cases requires specific drug to be managed, some cases can be managed by maintaning proper hydration in the body. As rotavirus causes vomiting, which further results in additional fluid loss which mostly treated by providing intravenous fluids to infants.
As recommended by World Health Organization (WHO), children who are suffering from diarrhea should be given ORS (oral rehydration solution). It is a solution which is used to prevent correct dehydration caused by diarrhea. One packet of a solution needs to be dissolved in each liter of drinking water.
If the packet is not available the mixture can be made at home also by mixing up sugar, salt and water. ORS is safe and can be used for adults along apart from children as adults need rehydration treatment as much as children need them.
In India, ORS is successful in saving nearly 500,000 children life every year.
Specifically for this day the Indian Academy of Pediatrics and partners are promoting the more use of ORS including with continued breast-feeding and food, for all the children suffering with diarrhea in the country.
This day promotes awareness among the masses mainly focusing upon the most vulnerable groups who are prone to the disease during the monsoon season. The awareness include various activists like large scale of vaccination, doctors seminars, social talks, rallies spreading the message of ‘ORS SAVES LIVES’, correct use of ORS, increase the prescription , recommendation, etc. It also educates parents that they should ORS – WHO compositions at home, especially during the diarrhea season, from May to September to protect their children and themselves from the disease.
Every year the day is followed by a particular theme and this year the theme is ‘ORS- Only Rational Solution’.
It is a special day for all the determined individuals to discover the symptoms of the disease and share whatever possible resource they have to help those who are suffering from a health challenge.
It was highlighted that parents should keep ORS – WHO compositions at home, particularly during the diarrhea season, from May to September.
“ORS can dogmatically be believed as one of the best invention in paediatric care of diarrhoea in children. It alone has been instrumental in reducing mortality and morbidity in cholera affected children. Initially meant for Cholera now the WHO modified it for other diarrhoeas and is the mainstay of treatment of any diarrhoeal disease. If used in proper dilutions and in proper amount is the best effective tool against dehydration in children”, says Dr. Shalini Tyagi, Senior Consultant – Paediatrics & Neonatology
“In the last 100 years of modern medicine, ORS is the most important invention and has the most important significance in preventing mortality and morbidity due to gastritis”, says Dr. Ajit Saxena – Consultant – Paediatrics & Neonatology
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