With the prevalent epidemic of Cholera in some states in Nigeria, it has become important to bring more awareness about the disease and proffer ways we can prevent and get cure so that we can stay healthy and safe.
Cholera is a bacterial infection of the small bowel that can cause severe diarrhea, vomiting and dehydration. Cholera settles wherever poor hygiene permits it to infect humans, who appear to be cholera’s only hosts. The bacterium that causes cholera is most productive in times of flood and war, since these events can reduce the availability of clean water.
CAUSES OF CHOLERA
Cholera is caused by a bacterium called Vibrio cholerae. A person gets cholera by drinking water or eating food infected with the bacterium. Once swallowed, it settles in the lining of the small bowel and releases a toxin (poison) that can cause the body to flush liquid into the small bowel, resulting in watery diarrhea. The bacterium that causes cholera is usually transmitted by water contaminated with human feces, but it can also be transmitted by ingesting contaminated food, especially raw or undercooked seafood and shellfish. Most people infected with cholera have no symptoms, yet they carry the bacteria for a few weeks, excreting them slowly into the water supply. The disease can spread rapidly in areas with inadequate treatment of sewage and drinking water.
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS
- Profuse watery diarrhea, sometimes described as “rice-water stools”
- Restlessness or irritability
- muscle cramps
- reduced or no urination
- low pulse
- sunken-looking eyes
- wrinkled skin on fingers
- low blood pressure
- rapid weight loss
BASIC CHOLERA PREVENTION STEPS
1. Make sure to drink bottled and safe water and use same to brush your teeth
2. Wash your hands often with soap and safe water
- Use latrines or bury your poop; do not poop in any body of water
- Cook food thoroughly (especially seafood), keep it covered, and eat it hot.
- Peel fruits and vegetables
- Clean up safely in the kitchen and in places where the family bathes and washes clothes
- Avoid foods and drinks from street vendors.
Written by Nurse Mojisola Kolawole
Ultimate Health Management services.