Cholera – Signs, Symptoms, treatment and prevention
Cholera is a chronic infectious disease which is characterized by watery stools that leads to dehydration and eventually death. It is caused by bacteria called Vibrato Cholerae which enters the body through contaminated water or food. The disease is most common in places where there is poor sanitation, unhygienic conditions, packed area and famine. The countries like Africa, Southern parts of Asia and Latin America have more number of Cholera cases.
Bacteria called Vibrio Cholerae are the causing agent of cholera. When the food or water is contaminated with stools of person who has cholera spreads the infection to others.
The source includes the following:
- Water supplies from metropolitan bodies
- Ice that is made from metropolitan body
- Foods and other water products that are sold by street shops due to unhygienic practices
- Vegetables that grows in contaminated water supply
- Consuming raw and improper cooked fish and sea foods that is caught in water infected with sewage.
The infection starts when the bacteria enter the body and releases the poison in the intestines that causes severe diarrhea.
The signs begin after few hours of consuming the infected food or water or even after five days of infection.
- Severe diarrhea ( watery stools )with vomiting
- The diarrhea leads to dehydration
- Dehydration is found by increased heart rate
- Skin flexibility is reduced
- Decrease in blood pressure
- Dryness of inner parts of mouth, nose, throat and eyelids and also the mucous membranes
- Feeling thirsty
- Cramps in the muscles and joints
If dehydration is not treated seriously it will lead to sudden shock and death.
When you develop severe diarrhea and vomiting, seeking medical help is important as cholera is highly treatable. Depending on the severity of the diarrhea, oral intravenous fluids will be advised to replace the fluids that have been lost. Antibiotics are advised to reduce the diarrhea in severe cases and also help in preventing the spread of the disease. In mild cases antibiotics are not given.
- Vaccines are available to prevent from cholera, but WHO does not recommend it as it protects only half of the people and also only for few months after the dosage is given.
- You can protect yourself and your family members by taking some precautionary steps such as using boiled water, chemically sterilized and bottled water.
- These water should be used for drinking, preparing foods and also ice should made from this kind of water, brushing your teeth, cleaning your face and hands, washing the vessels in which the food is prepared or cooked and washing the fruits and vegetables.
- Try to avoid raw foods such as milk and milk products, fish that is caught in tropical areas and shell fish, unwrapped fruits and vegetables and meat that is raw or undercooked.
- Proteinuria is a symptom of an underlying kidney problem and hence treatment for the primary condition must be done such as controlling blood pressure and sugar levels in people who have diabetes and hypertension.
- Those who are diagnosed with nephrotic syndrome and fluid retention in body must restrict the intake of salt. Also Protein intake must be limited.
- Drugs such as ACE inhibitors that are used for lowering hypertension are also found to control proteinuria. Hence it is advised for people who do not have hypertension too.