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Doctors warn foods no way to treat dehydration

Update: May, 30/2018 - 09:00
It is important to prepare ORS strictly according to instructions to treat children with rehydration. — Illustrative photo VNA/VNS
Viet Nam News

HÀ NỘI — Doctors in Hà Nội have warned parents to be more cautious when treating their children with food products that claim to contain Oral Rehydration Salts.

Hà Nội’s Bạch Mai Hospital has recently provided emergency aid for three children who were hospitalised with symptoms of water loss, convulsions and falling blood pressure.

The doctors said the patients had suffered dehydration and were not treated appropriately.

Dehydration from diarrhoea can be prevented by giving extra fluids at home, or it can be treated simply, effectively and cheaply in all age-groups and in all but the most severe cases with a glucose-electrolyte solution called Oral Rehydration Salts (ORS) solution, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).

However, many people have mistakenly taken to using functional foods that claim to contain ORS instead of pure ORS.

A family member of a patient told Sức khỏe & Đời sống (Health and Life) newspaper that her mother bought a kind of ORS for her child to drink to prevent water loss by diarrhea two weeks ago. However, after three days, the 11-month-old baby still suffered diarrhea while feeling exhausted and looking weak. She was hospitalised last week with symptoms of high fever and convulsion and was diagnosed with dehydration due to severe diarrhea.

According to a doctor at the hospital, she was one of three children hospitalised with dehydration as a result of diarrhea. The three children’s symptoms were all related to inappropriate rehydration therapy.

Former head of the Bạch Mai Hospital Paediatrics Department Nguyễn Tiến Dũng told the newspaper that there are many kinds of functional food on the market with ingredients and formulas similar to ORS, which claim to be even more effective than ORS.

However, Dũng said, many products were packed with a dose of 10ml, which is not appropriate and can cause confusion for users.  This kind of product is not only ineffective at treating dehydration, but could also threaten patients’ lives.

It is important to prepare ORS strictly according to instructions to treat children with rehydration, he said.

“ORS is a kind of medicine used to treat diarrhea and is often packed to mix with water to create a mixture from 200ml to 1,000ml for each kind of age. Patients need to drink hundreds of ml of ORS to treat dehydration,” he said.

He could not confirm that these patients suffered water loss due to the use of functional foods, but their symptoms were related to those products, Dũng said.

Many parents mistakenly believe that ORS-containing foods are the same as ORS prescribed by doctors, he said. Moreover, these functional foods are more expensive than pure ORS so many people assume they are a superior product. — VNS

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