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 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 leads 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 inadequate can 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.

 

Risk Factors and Complications Associated with Cholera

Everyone who drinks or eats food that is not treated to eliminate V. cholerae is at risk for cholera. Individuals living in the areas where cholera is present are especially at risk. Liquids have to be chemically treated, pasteurized, or boiled, and foods have to be cleaned and cooked in order to eliminate V. cholerae.

Below are the risk factors associated with Cholera:

  • Hunger in third-world countries can lead individuals to unwittingly eat contaminated food or drink contaminated water, raising the risk for cholera.
     
  • Malnourished or immune-compromised individuals are more likely to become infected.
     
  • Children between ages 2 to 4 are supposed to be more susceptible to Cholera than older children.

 

Below are the complications that can occur because of Cholera:

  • Kidney failure: When kidneys lose their filtering ability, matters like some electrolytes, excess amounts of fluids, and wastes build up in the body, which is a potentially life-threatening condition.
     
  • Low blood sugar: Shallow blood sugar levels, the body's main energy source, can arise when an individual becomes too ill to eat.
     
  • Low potassium levels: Individuals infected with cholera lose vast quantities of minerals like potassium through their stools. Low potassium levels can interfere with nerve and heart function and are thus life-threatening.

 

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

  • Homemade ORS: It is a straightforward 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 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 regularly for improvement.
  • Clove: Add some cloves to water and boil it. Now, drink this mixture every few hours to treat 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 no bacteria or virus is 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.

 

Conclusion

Thus, Cholera is a fatal disease, and you need to know about the above things about the condition to stay protected. Buy health insurance plans from ManipalCigna to get financial protection in the treatment of many deadly diseases.

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