Oral rehydration therapy

Oral rehydration therapy (ORT) is a type of fluid replacement used as a treatment for dehydration. It involves drinking water mixed with sugar and salt, while continuing to eat. When dehydration is severe, the therapy also includes supplemental zinc. Caretakers are taught the signs of worsening dehydration. The World Health Organization and UNICEF specify indications, preparations and procedures for ORT.
Since its introduction and development for widespread use in the latter part of the 20th century, oral rehydration therapy has decreased human deaths from dehydration in vomiting and diarrheal illnesses, especially in cholera epidemics occurring in children. It represents a major advance in global public health. It is on the World Health Organization’s List of Essential Medicines, a list of the most important medication needed in a basic health system.

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