Zinc supplementation is a critical new intervention for treating diarrheal episodes in children. Recent studies suggest that administration of zinc along with new low osmolarity oral rehydration solutions / salts (ORS), can reduce the duration and severity of diarrheal episodes for up to three months. The World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF recommend daily 20 mg zinc supplements for 10 - 14 days for children with acute diarrhea, and 10 mg per day for infants under six months old, to curtail the severity of the episode and prevent further occurrences in the ensuing -two to three months, thereby decreasing the morbidity considerably. This article reviews the available evidence on the efficacy and safety of zinc supplementation in pediatric diarrhea and convincingly concludes that zinc supplementation has a beneficial impact on the disease outcome.
Keywords: Acute diarrhea; oral rehydration solutions/salts; zinc salts.