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How to Identify Fake ORS in The Market Using One Simple Step

Many Indian households rely on Oral Rehydration Salts (ORS) solutions to combat dehydration, particularly during summer. But distinguishing real ORS from energy drinks marketed as such remains crucial. ‘Food pharmer’ Revant Himatsingka shares how you can check real vs fake ORS.

How to Identify Fake ORS in The Market Using One Simple Step

Temperatures are rising across the country, crossing 40 degrees Celcius in many cities, leading to severe dehydration. Doctors typically recommend an Oral Rehydration Salts (ORS) solution for diarrhoea and dehydration, especially for infants and children.

Most Indian households are stocked up with packets of ORS solutions, and use them to beat the heat, also using it for children. Pharmacies are also stocked up with ORS solutions from different brands, available in different flavours.

The major bone of contention here is, are these real ORS solutions?

What is the ORS solution?

Before getting into identifying what’s real and not, we first need to understand the purpose behind the creation of this life-saving solution.

According to the WHO, diarrhoea is one of the leading causes of death in children under the age of five. Deaths due to diarrhoea occur due to dehydration, which can be prevented by giving fluids at home, and in severe cases, ORS.

ORS is a mixture of salt and sugar dissolved in water that can treat dehydration caused by diarrhoea, heat stroke or other illnesses where you lose a lot of fluid.

Used since 1969 by the WHO and UNICEF, it is one of the most effective treatments for clinical dehydration across the world, which is cheap on the pocket too. It is recommended to treat dehydration across all age groups.

ORS, a balanced glucose-electrolyte mixture, is the name of the solution and is NOT the name of a brand.

How to identify fake ORS?

There have been several news reports and warnings by the FSSAI to companies to stop printing misleading labels on energy drinks and calling them ORS. Yet, it continues as pharmacies are filled with energy drinks packaged as the solution, while it is just another drink.

Revant Himatsingka, a health coach and content creator, who is on a crusade against such mislabelling and misinformation, has shared a new video where he explains how to identify real ORS.

He talks about the issues with fake ORS — primarily the fact that it has high sugar and ‘dangerously low sodium’.

Reports also show that energy drinks disguised as ORS result in worsening health.

So here’s how you can pick the right ORS:

  1. The correct ORS product will have ‘based on WHO formula’ printed over it.
  2. While real ORS is a drug, the fake ORS is just an energy drink that is regulated by the FSSAI.
  3. If the ORS packet has an FSSAI sign on it, it’s fake. If it doesn’t have the sign, it’s real; purchase it!

Edited by Pranita Bhat.

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