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World ORS Day 2021: Can Oral Rehydration Solution (ORS) Speed Up Recovery From COVID-19?

Hydration is central for recovery from infections, including COVID-19, a viral infection that has affected around 16.5 crore people worldwide and caused 34.2 lakh deaths to date.

Though coronavirus is known to cause severe symptoms in humans, not everyone experiences its severity and requires hospitalisation. Studies say that around 12-15 per cent of patients only need hospitalisation, while the rest of them are able to manage their symptoms and recover successfully at home by using easy and least-expensive therapies like oral rehydration therapy, which includes the use of oral rehydration solution (ORS) or oral water.

So, what is oral water and is it effective to speed up the recovery from covid-19? Take a look at the details.

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What Is Oral Rehydration Solution (ORS)?

Oral rehydration solution, commonly known as oral water, is an over-the-counter drug made of sodium chloride (2.6 g/L), anhydrous or dried glucose (13.5 g/L), potassium chloride (1.5 g/L) and trisodium citrate dihydrate (2.9 g/L). [1]

Oral water with the aforementioned ingredients and added zinc sulphate are also recommended by the WHO for the treatment of diarrhoea, which is a common compilation of COVID-19. [2]

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This sodium and glucose solution is considered among the best alternative therapy to speed up the recovery from COVID-19 and prevent the need for hospitalisation.

It may help treat symptoms such as cold, fever, vomiting, diarrhoea, weakness, fatigue, muscle cramps, confusion and dry mouth, all that leads to dehydration and hospitalisation due to worsening of the condition. [3]

Oral water can help prevent the loss of body electrolytes and keep the body hydrated for long. It can treat some of the mild to moderate COVID-19 symptoms in patients recovering at home, with no burden to healthcare.

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Why Dehydration Occurs During COVID-19

When a person gets infected with COVID-19, the body triggers an immune response to fight the virus, and in the process raises body temperature to make the place unfavourable for viruses to thrive.

When the body temperature rises, which is characterised as fever, the thermoregulation mechanism in the body stimulates the production of sweat to lower down the body temperature.

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According to clinical guidelines provided by Nutritioncare against COVID-19, in adults with a fever of 39 degree-Celcius, sweating can cause fluid loss of about 30 ounces every 24 hours, with loss of additional three ounces due to breathing and coughing, and further loss due to diarrhoea and vomiting. [4]

Increased sweating can lead to loss of fluid from the body along with vital electrolytes such as sodium, potassium and calcium, and if the intake of fluid does not match the loss of fluid from the body, dehydration occurs.

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Dehydration further can lead to loss of body fat and muscles, as in the absence of adequate fluid, the body starts utilising the prior to maintain the proper bodily functions.

This lowers the ability of immune system and impacts its ability to fight against the virus, making it difficult for the patient to recover fast.

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How Does ORS Speed Up COVID-19 Recovery?

The components in oral rehydration solution allow the absorption of electrolytes in the intestines at a faster rate and help replenish the lost electrolytes of the body. This helps hydrate the body and support the body's ability to fight the virus for a longer period.

In some, COVID-19 causes nasal congestion by the buildup of respiratory secretions or mucus which gets thicken in the absence of water in the body, causing a blockage in the breathing process. If the inflammation of the respiratory tract is also severe, the narrowing of the windpipe, along with the mucus can aggravate the condition in COVID-19 patients, causing them symptoms like breathlessness and COVID-19-related pneumonia.

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Oral water may help clear the mucus from the respiratory tract and promote breathing, thus, reducing the need for hospitalisation.

Oral water is also a great source of energy. Therefore, even if this hydration solution is unable to lower the COVID-19 symptoms, to some extent, it can significantly decrease the discomfort in patients suffering from COVID-19.

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According to a press release by Global Pharma News and Resources, a consumer healthcare company Clinova based in London (UK) has increased the production of its ORS tablets to meet the rising demand for a hydrating solution due to the hot weather of the summer and ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. [5]

This indicates that researchers and people from around the world are understanding the importance of oral water as an essential treatment method to recover fast from the infection.

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How Much To Drink

It is recommended to drink around three litres of oral water a day to meet the nutritional requirements. To meet this, one can drink 2-4 ounces of ORS every 15 minutes. Also, ensure that you are passing urine every 3-4 hours.

Along with that, consume foods up to 2000-2500 calories, including protein of 75-100 grams a day to recover fast.

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How To Use ORS?

You can easily get the ORS in your nearest pharma. All you need to do is tear the sachet and mix it with an indicated amount of water printed on the packet and consume it. As oral water is an over-the-counter drug, you don't need any prescription to buy it.

Nowadays, oral water is available in various flavours. If you do not like the taste of the normal oral water, you can opt for your choice of flavour and enjoy the drink.

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How To Prepare ORS At Home?

Ingredients

  • 5-6 teaspoons of sugar
  • Half teaspoon of salt
  • One litre of water, boiled and cooled.
  • Method

    • Stir all the ingredients in a jar until they are fully dissolved.
    • Drink 2-4 ounces every 15 minutes.
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      To Conclude

      Oral water is an alternative therapy to help in the recovery process from COVID-19, however, it should not be considered a primary method or an only method to manage coronavirus symptoms. Consult a medical expert if you notice no improvement in your condition.