FAMILY HEALTH

Things you need to know about Cholera read

Dec 02 2020

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Cholera is an infectious disease that spreads due to contaminated water. The bacterium Vibrio cholera (V. cholera) can contaminate water or food whose consumption can lead to severe diarrhoea and dehydration.

While cholera is now not so common in countries like the US due to well-developed sanitary systems, it still affects millions of people in Asia, Africa and Latin America where sanitation conditions are not good.

If it is not treated on time, cholera can result in fatality. Once affected, a person can die within hours if he or she does not get proper treatment. In cases, even home remedies can prove effective in treating the condition.

Signs and Symptoms of Cholera

In most of the cases, the infected person does not even know that he or she has cholera. Mild symptoms that do occur usually mimic those of diarrhoea. However, some may develop the following signs and symptoms of cholera after a few days of infection.

  • Diarrhoea: Cholera is usually identified by severe diarrhoea which leads to dangerous liquid loss. The patients experience watery diarrhoea, also known as rice water stools since it has cloudy and milky appearance.
  • Dehydration: Due to constant fluid loss, dehydration also occurs in cholera. Some of the symptoms include rapid heart rate, fatigue, irritability, dizziness, dry mouth, sunken skin, extreme thirst, low blood pressure, no urination and so on.
  • Nausea: Nausea and vomiting usually happen in the early stage of cholera and can last for hours.
  • Electrolyte Imbalance: Due to dehydration, the body may lose essential minerals leading to electrolyte imbalance. It can further cause muscle pain, and shock where low blood volume leads to low blood pressure and oxygen in the body. This can be fatal.

 

Causes of Cholera

The main cause of cholera is the bacterium called Vibrio cholera and is mostly spread through contaminated food and water. This bacterium produces a deadly toxin in the small intestine once it enters the human body. The toxin then further lead to loss of fluids.

Some of the ways through which this infection spread are as follows:

  • Contaminated Water: Municipal water supplies or water from well are frequent sources of cholera infection. People who live in areas where sanitization is poor often get infected.
  • Raw fruits and vegetables: Raw fruits, and vegetables may also have bacteria due to uncomposted manure fertilizers or contaminated irrigation water.
  • Seafood: Eating raw and undercooked seafood, especially crabs and oysters may lead to cholera infection.

 

Treatment of Cholera

After the diagnosis, cholera treatment should be followed immediately. Here are some methods doctors prefer to treat the infection:

  • Rehydration: The main goal of this treatment is to restore the lost fluid. The doctor may recommend oral solutions and fluids.
  • Medicines and Supplements: To cure the symptoms and provide relief, the doctors may prescribe medicine or supplements.
  • Intravenous Fluids: In some cases, oral medications are not enough. In this situation, people are given intravenous fluids.

 

Home Remedies of Cholera

Other than medical treatment, there are various home-based remedies that can alleviate cholera and its symptoms. Some of the most common and effective ones are as follows:

  • Homemade ORS: It is a very simple ORS recipe in which you need to mix ½ teaspoon of salt and sugar in clean water and stir well. Drink this solution several times in a day to avoid dehydration.
  • Ginger: This is considered an ancient herb with natural antibiotic properties. Mix ginger juice with black pepper, holy basil, and mint leaves. Drink the potion to improve digestive capacity and reduce pain.
  • Probiotic Yogurt: Having 2 to 3 cups of probiotic yogurt can work great in treating cholera. It contains healthy bacteria whose work is to improve digestion and fight off bacteria that cause cholera.
  • Coconut Water: Drinking coconut water proves to be quite effective in treating cholera infection. You can also mix it with lime juice and add cucumber leave to make it more beneficial.
  • Onions: Onions are proven methods to treat cholera. Grind the onions and add black pepper to the paste. Consume this extract on a regular basis for improvement.
  • Clove: Add some cloves in water and boil it. Now, drink this mixture every few hours to teat cholera symptoms.
  • Black herbal tea: Tea made with black pepper, ginger, mint, holy basil is quite helpful in getting rid of cholera infection.

 

Prevention and Control of Cholera

Cholera usually spreads through poor hygiene and contaminated food and water. Thus, a simple preventive measure can help in reducing your risk. Some of the common yet effective ways you can prevent and control the infection are as follows:

  • Wash your hands frequently to avoid the transfer of bacteria. Rub your hands with soap for at least 15 seconds to ensure there are no bacteria or virus left.
  • Peel the fruits and vegetables before consumption. If you are cooking a meal, make sure it is completely cooked.
  • Avoid street food made in unhygienic conditions.
  • Drink safe and clean water. If you are traveling, prefer bottled water to consume.

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