[permaculture] Oral Rehydration Solution - Why Have It & where you can get it cheap

Harold Waldock hwaldock at telus.net
Sat Nov 19 19:12:15 EST 2011

On the Permaculture Saying, "Prepare for Disaster"

Oral Rehydration Solution: Why have it & where you can get it cheap. 
 I've never seen it included in emergency-first aid kits
Salts in the body are known as electrolytes and they are essential to life.  Oral Rehydration Solution was developed to save the lives of children as diarrhea was the major cause of death.  It is cheap 6c per serving or less if you know where to get it.  See wikipedia article http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oral_rehydration_therapy about history and other details.  I am not a doctor but I knew about this before I went to India and took some. It really worked but I could not get more while I was there in 1984-5.

Why Have It

Many diseases and situations cause the body to become short of electrolytes.  Use in quantities needed to replace what is missing or lost after every incident.  Many cups a day are needed in the worst cases:
Is the major remedy for:
Spanish Flu/Avian Flu/Swine Flu/SARS or similar Pandemic - diarrhea & vomiting  you will feel better after 1 or 2 cups after 20 to 30 minutes with mild cases.  If you can stay strong you can survive the worst flu and more likely survive the usual subsequent opportunistic infections such as pneumonia bronchitis etc.  It is not something you can buy when you need it - you have to buy it before you need it. 
  When you don't feel well you don't want to leave the house and in a pandemic nothing is available.  Bye the way these Pandemics usually occur when the population is tired, malnourished and under stress such as after war or financial collapse. Financial collapses are frequent in history. We are in one now.  
Cholera - Survival with out it or IV is less than 20% for healthy adults in some studies not common anymore
Typhoid/Dysentery/Beaver Fever/Cryptosporidium/Montezuma's Revenge etc etc - increases survival and energy.
Radiation Sickness From Nuclear Bomb or Disaster- Vomiting and diarrhea that lasts 2 -3 weeks from exposure.  It weakens people who have had everything blown apart and have been poisoned.  If you can survive this stage the likelihood of survival greatly increases. The Japanese drank miso soup which is salty and is aged (radiation free if they could get pure water).  For a family you will need up to 10 cups a day per person for 2-3 weeks.  It is not something you can buy when you need it, you have to have it at home.
Heat Stroke/Heat Stress - Hot weather or countries or demanding physical exercise mean sweating and salt loss that reaches a crisis that cause fainting, nausea, vomiting, tiredness, irritability and more.  Gatoraid is hard to pack on your back up the mountains and may have a best before date.  But a powder you can mix for more serious cases or lick up in less serious cases can dramatically improve health and increase your energy.  Sometimes one gets heat stress even though one has been drinking water but it just goes through you and you still feel tired and thirsty.  This is the situation for electrolyte or if you don't have it regular salt.  A powder made from salt and sugar never has a best before date unless you get it moist and something grows in the sugar water/paste- you have to package it in moisture proof containers.
Food Allergies and Unknown Stomach upsets For a long time I had trouble with diarrhea but did not know the source resulting in tiredness for the rest of the day: ORS was what could bring back the energy in 30 minutes so I could get on with my life.  This was for 20 odd years till I could find what the problems were.  It turned out to be most strawberries and oranges. But there are other days.  
Antibiotics and other medicine cause trouble too because your stomach needs the bacteria to firm things up or because of side effects.

Alternatives Considered
Table salt does not quite do it.
A basic oral rehydration therapy solution is composed of:[19][20][21]
30 ml (6 level tsp) of sugar
2.5 ml (1/2 level tsp) of salt, dissolved into
1 litre (4.25 Cups) of clean water
(Note that these expedient rehydration mixtures do not replenish potassium, and usage over long term may result in hypokalemia.)
 For me it is the potassium salt that is missing or in very low quantities in most table salts.  I've tried table salt.  Table salt and sugar in the right mixture is quite good but not as effective.  You can get potassium enriched table salt but now the calculations of ratio to water and salt is problematical.  Can't do it by weight, they have inert silica and I don't have enough info/time to calculate it out.  Pharmacy grade products measured out by the pharmacists are the best.  All you have to do is get the quantity right for 250ml of water with a measuring spoon. 

Commercially available is Gastrolyte in most drug stores for $13-17 per 10 servings (not even a cup) very expensive and often out of stock.  Gatoraid has technical formulations for athletes that may be better but I don't know and has best before date, more expensive, bulky and heavy.  

Every family or family member (I have lots) I call when I hear that they are sick are out of stock of Gastrolyte or similar in the house or too sick and tired to go get some.  Nobody, including myself has enough when it is needed ie  This is what is driving me to do this and yes, I was a little sick recently (and somebody had thrown out my supply) 

The enhanced new formula not the old one.
> UNICEF/WHO reduced osmolarity version from wikipedia:
> Concentrations of ingredients in reduced osmolarity ORS[22]
> Ingredient	                                                          g/L	Molecule/ion	mmol/L
> sodium chloride (NaCl)	                                          2.6	sodium	75
> glucose, anhydrous (C6H12O6)	                        13.5	glucose	75
> potassium chloride (KCl)	                                          1.5	potassium	20
>                                                                                         chloride	65
> trisodium citrate, dihydrate Na3C6H5O7·2H2O	  2.9	citrate	10

Where to Get It
Compounding pharmacies are rare in Vancouver Canada and 2 others would not help me:

Dr. Edward Thorpe at Kripps Pharmacy http://www.krippspharmacy.com/
5413 West Boulevard
Vancouver, B.C. Canada V6M 3W5 
Toll Free Phone
1 (877) 312-8822
Local Phone
(604) 687-2564
Fax (604) 685-9721
"Dr. Edward Thorpe" <altermed at portal.ca>  he is not good with email call him

He said:  $70 for powder for 100 litres ie 400 servings or 6c a serving.  Make sure he tells you the dose in g/250ml and teaspoons/8oz  because when you need it you can't find the gram level scale. (most food scales are not accurate enough) try to get a desiccant packs to keep the powder dry.  

If you have more information than I have as I am not a medical professional, let me and the list know.

Harold Waldock

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