Measuring spoons for oral rehydration salts, British, 1981.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
These five coloured spoons, each moulded with instructions in a different language, were manufactured by 'Teaching Aids at Low Cost', London, for use in Third World Countries. Oral rehydration is a cheap and effective remedy for diarrhoeal diseases. Diseases like typhoid and cholera cause dehydration when the body loses natural fluids, minerals and salt, endangering life. In the 1970s an estimated four million children died this way. In 1974 the World Health Organisation set up a diarrhoeal disease control programme, involving oral rehydration. Sachets of salts containing minerals such as sodium, potasium and sugar are taken mixed with water, as instructed on the spoons.