One of the illnesses that will explode in a long-term emergency is diarrhea. As water and sewer service is lost, we will be literally transported back to medieval times. The most affected areas will be high population cities where proper sanitation will be hard to control. In Haiti today there is still a major Cholera outbreak. World-wide, diarrhea is the second most cause of death in infants and children.

First, practice proper sanitation to avoid illness. Wash your hands. Store hand sanitizer. Have a plan to deal with human waste. Drink only purified or filtered water. An interesting aside is that the ceramic water filter was invented by Royal Daulton in 1835 when Queen Victoria commissioned them to create a filter to provide clean drinking water for the Royal family in the midst of an outbreak of Cholera.

If someone develops severe diarrhea and vomiting, they will become dehydrated with the loss of fluids. This can result in death. An antibiotic is usually needed but in addition to medication you need to rehydrate them and replace the fluids and electrolytes they have lost.

An Oral Rehydration Solution (ORS) can be used to replace lost fluids and electrolytes. An ORS will not stop the diarrhea and vomiting, it will only rehydrate the body so it can effectively fight the illness.

Here are two ORS formulas. The first is simple, works most of the time but lacks some electrolytes. The second formula is my personal favorite. The sugar in both formulas is used to transport the electrolytes across the cell wall into the cell and also provide some calories.




First Formula:
• 6 – 8 level tsp of sugar
• ½ – 1 level tsp of plain (non-iodized) salt, dissolved into
• 1 Quart of clean water

Do not over do the salt or the sugar as the patient may not be able to tolerate the solution.  Start at 1/2 tsp salt and 6 tsp sugar.

Second Formula:
• ¼ tsp plain (non-iodized) salt
• ¼ tsp , lite salt, no salt, salt substitute (potassium chloride)
• ¼ tsp baking soda
• 2 ½ tsp sugar
• 1 Quart of clean water

Give the person small sips of the solution every five minutes, even if they vomit, until they begin to urinate normally. The drink can be given with fruit juice as a flavoring.

The dry ingredients can be measured and packaged in small zip-lock bags before hand and placed in to your medical kit. I keep four pre-made packets in my kit.


Ed Rogers

Copyright “Keep It Simple” 2012.  All Rights Reserved.

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