Pandemic Prep:Oral Rehydration Solution

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    ORAL REHYDRATION SOLUTION (Attachment, below)

    Having pre-made packets of Oral Rehydration Solution (ORS) available is highly recommended. Easy to mix. Easy to store. Nice to have on hand. ESPECIALLY if YOU are the one who is sick and relying on family members not used to being put in the ‘caregiver’ position!

    Dehydration, from a prolonged bout of flu; with its fever, vomiting, and diarrhea, can easily kill patients that might have otherwise survived the virus. As IV’s may well be in short supply or simply unavailable during a pandemic, the use of ORS may well be the most beneficial treatment that most patients can receive. Certainly, with home care being the most likely venue for most patients, ORS will play a large role in the treatment of pandemic flu.

    When the human body becomes dehydrated, it loses both water and essential electrolytes, particularly sodium. This condition can quickly become life threatening.

    Identification of dehydration: When patients have a fever, vomiting, and/or diarrhea, they lose much more water from the body than is commonly appreciated. Symptoms of dehydration include weakness, dizziness, headache, confusion, and fainting. Signs of dehydration include dryness of the mouth, decreased saliva, lack of or very small urine volume that is dark and highly concentrated, sunken eyes, loss of skin elasticity, low blood pressure, especially upon sitting up or rising from the sitting to the standing position, and fast pulse rate, especially when moving from the lying to sitting or standing positions.

    You can make single-serve packets of ORS powder, with each packet designed to be added to 1 liter of water. Two packets would be used for a 2-liter bottle.

    You can find small, re-closable baggies, called bagettes sold at Michaels Art Supplies. You will find them in the bead section. Snack sized baggies, though lighter gauge plastic, would work as well. The small 2”x3” bagettes are just a little too small for the amount of powder required. You will need to go to the next size up, which are 3”x5”.

    Along with these baggies, you will need table salt and sugar. I am electing to use non-iodized salt, although I am not aware of any reason why iodized salt would present a problem. The only other things you will need are measuring spoons and a felt tipped marker.

    Into each baggie I am placing 3 TABLESPOONS of Sugar, and 1 TEASPOON of salt. These do not need to be mixed. I am writing on each Baggie “ORS POWDER- ADD TO 1 LITER OF WATER”.

    This is the basic formula recommended by Dr. Grattan Woodson in his GOOD HOME TREATMENT OF INFLUENZA guide.

    Making your own ORS- 2 Recipes:
    1). The simplest formula is 3 Tablespoons of sugar, and 1 teaspoon of salt, dissolved in 1 quart of potable water.
    2). An alternative simple formula is 8 teaspoons of sugar, and 1 teaspoon of salt, dissolved in 1 quart of potable water.

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