Prepare Every Needful Thing

"If ye are prepared, ye shall not fear"

Emergency and Disaster Response–January 2015

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Oral Rehydration SolutionORS

In a disaster scenario, delays in restoring utilities can cause sanitation to become difficult, and these conditions will often lead to widespread gastro-intestinal illness. Many times the illness and death rates resulting from unsanitary conditions will outstrip the injuries and losses that occurred during the actual event. Aside from preparing adequately for household sanitation (see the March 2014 issue of this newsletter for sanitation and handwashing options, as well as July 2013 on water purification) it is a good idea to stock supplies for rehydration, should someone become ill. The following formulae are more effective than water at rehydrating as they will replace electrolytes and allow the body to absorb fluids more effectively.

To determine if a patient is suffering from dehydration, look for the following signs and symptoms: absent or scanty tears, saliva, sweat and urine; skin loses elasticity and does not “snap back” when pinched on hand or forearm; rapid respiration; headache or dizziness; increasing fever with some of the above symptoms. It is better to err on the side of caution as dehydration can become fatal.

To rehydrate, the adult patient should consume 1 quart oral rehydration solution every hour for the first 4-6 hours. Children (around 60 pounds) should consume 8 ounces per hour over the same period. Be sure that the water and preparation and drinking vessels you are using are absolutely clean! This is no time to take chances.

  • Gatorade formula: dilute Gatorade by half with water.
  • Juice formula: (take both parts together or separately)
    • PART ONE—8 ounces fruit juice, ½ teaspoon honey and a pinch of salt
    • PART TWO—8 ounces water and ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • Dry formula: Mix 1 teaspoon salt, 4 teaspoons cream of tartar, ½ teaspoon baking soda and ¼ cup sugar into 1 quart of water. Stir before drinking as mixture tends to settle.
  • Simple formula: 1 bucket (gallon) of water, 1 handful (cup) of sugar and 1 three-finger pinch (teaspoon) of salt.

 

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