The World Health Organization (WHO)estimates that 21,000-143,000 people die each year of cholera. This is a call for concern. The recent outbreak of cholera in Niger State also calls for thorough awareness about this disease which though taken lightly, is ravaging more lives with the majority being children. This article will address what cholera is, it's causes, signs and symptoms, complications, management, treatment and even prevention. Together, we can eradicate cholera.
What is cholera?
Cholera is an infectious disease that causes severe diarrhea , dehydration and even death if left untreated. According to WHO, it can kill within hours.
What causes cholera?
Cholera is caused by a bacteria, Vibro Cholerae. It finds it way to the small intestine, causes excessive secretion of salts and water. This fluid secretion beomes too excessive for the intestinal cell to reabsorb, resulting into it's loss. The loss of fluid is so great that important body nutrients are lost in excretion, leading to severe dehydration and depletion of nutrients. Thus, the individual dies within hours.
How is cholera transmitted?
The bacteria resides and thrives well in damp, dirty linen, moist environment, and in the stools of patients with the disease. The commonest mode of transmission is through infected water and foods, including vegetables and plants grown with human feces which might be infected too.
Who can get infected?
Cholera affects both children and adults and can kill within hours if untreated. Children happen to be the more affected. Malnourished people are also susceptible to the disease.
What are the noticeable signs & symptoms?
1. Severe diarrhea (most common)
2. Rapid heart rate
3. Dry mouth , throat, nose, and eyelids
4. Low blood pressure
5. Muscle cramps
6. . Excessive thirst
7. Nausea & Vomitting
9. Low urine output
Why does cholera kills so quickly?
This is mainly due to excessive loss of minerals, salts and other vital chemicals
through dehydration which stops the body from functioning properly. Water is needed for survival. Without it, major body functions like blood circulation, excretion and respiration cannot take place effectively. Thus, the individual cannot survive for long without treatment.
How do I prevent and control cholera?
1. Ensure that food is properly cooked
2. Avoid raw fish, foodstuffs and uncooked vegetables.
3. Ensure water especially from unsanitized sources such as rivers, streams and well, is well boiled and safe to consume.
4. Avoid street foods, as this can carry cholera and other diseases.
5. Ensure proper hygiene and environmental sanitation.
6. Oral cholera vaccines
7. Learn about the diseases and safety of the community you're entering.
What do I do when I have cholera?
If you noticed any of the listed signs/symptoms, seek urgent medical attention. Never attempt self-medication or treatment.
Is there hope for eradication of cholera?
Global eradication of cholera seeks to address prevention, early detection, appropriate treatment, and proper sanitation and hygiene. Eradication of cholera is hinged on human commitment to these core factors.
Spread the news: together we can eradicate cholera and preserve lives.
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