Diet and Nutrition

5 Tips on Living with Cholera

5 Tips on Living with Cholera

Cholera, an acute infection that is characterized by diarrhea, is caused by Vibrio cholerae. These are among the most common organisms found on water surfaces of the world. It is caused by the enterotoxin subunit-A of Vibrio cholerae.

When living with cholera, one has to have the basic knowledge of the disease in order to actually track progress. You will not transmit cholera to a colleague or friend by mere casual contact, even if you are infected. We will take a look on some major sources of the bacterium vibrio cholerae.

Common Sources of Vibrio Cholera

  • Municipal water supplies
  • Uncooked, raw or poorly cooked foods from the sea.
  • Vegetables grown in contaminated waters.
  • Ice from contaminated food.
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Cholera is a water-borne infection that is spread through contaminated food or water. Contamination is usually spread through the feces of infected people or the consumption of shellfish. It can also be spread through saliva; kissing is also a medium of transmission.

Most individual who acquire the disease get it by ingesting food or water that contains the causative bacterium.

Outbreaks are common, especially when disasters occur or other circumstances that cause interference, breakage or loss of sanitary human waste disposal sites and systems. The catastrophes are also associated with inadequate or total unavailability of safe water and food ,hence people consuming contaminated water and food.

Hunger may at times force people to eat contaminated food and drink contaminated water. This significantly raises the risks of getting the infection. This is common in third world countries where food and water alone are limited resources, not to mention safe food and safe water.

People with low immune and malnourished people are at a considerably high risk of getting the disease. This implies that toddlers aged between 2 and 4 years are more prone to infection. People with the blood group O are the other vulnerable group of people, since they are twice as much likely to get cholera when compared to people of other blood groups.

Stomach acid is known to kill many bacteria, including the Vibrio cholerae bacterium. As such, people experiencing reduced secretion of acid in the stomach and those taking drugs to reduce stomach acidity are at a much greater risk of cholera.

The disease is prevalent in places lacking in sanitary facilities, war torn areas, places experiencing famine and crowded areas. The symptoms kick in as soon as five hours after infection to as long as five days after infection by the virus.

Cholera is an infection that is highly contagious. As a result of this, cases of the infection spreading rapidly is very common. In other cases people can contract the infection without knowing. However, here are some tips you can use in case you are living in an area affected by a cholera epidemic. 

     1. Vaccination

There are ways to fight the spread of cholera and live healthily even in an area with high risks of infection. Vaccines for cholera are readily available. Not only do they prevent infection, but also keep you safe from recurrence. Although a vaccine against cholera is very readily available, is largely not recommended. This is because it usually may not work in protecting up to half the number of people who receive the vaccine. In addition, the vaccine can sometimes only be effective for a few months.

     2. Safe Water

However, all hope is not lost. Essentially you can protect yourself and your loved ones against an infection of cholera by strictly using only water that has been boiled. Alternatively, you may safely use water that has been chemically disinfected or bottled water.

  • Drinking safe water
  • Proper preparation of food and drink
  • Avoiding ice
  • Proper hygiene: brushing your teeth and washing your hands and face regularly
  • Using clean sterilized utensils
  • Washing fruits and vegetables before you eat them
  • Boiling water for at least three minutes or application of commercial chemical for water treatment is also deterrent of cholera

Hydration is also essential since diarrhea from cholera leads to loss of large amount of water from the body. The water lost should be replaced to prevent dehydration.

     3. Using Soap And Water In Washing

As one tries to live with cholera but simultaneously tries not to infect anyone, washing your hands thoroughly with soap and water is one of the best preventative measures for spreading infection. Antiseptic soap is advised as it helps kill bacteria. Plain soap is, to some extent, a form of help, as it removes contamination from the hands and face. After visiting the bathroom, it is vital to wash your hands immediately aftewards with soap and water. 

You may have come into contact with the bacterium from your feces while wiping yourself if you are infected. This may also result in further transmission to family members.

When taking care of a child who is infected, it is of utmost importance to clean your own hands thoroughly. This may also be a channel of transmission of the bacterium from the child to other members of the the case of an adult patient, it is not necessary for isolation, hand hygiene should be strictly adhered to those in contact with the infected. These people’s beddings should be washed and disinfected where possible, especially where there are traces of stool. Avoid raw foods, unpeeled fruits and vegetables, unpasteurized milk and milk products, and raw or undercooked meat; fish caught in tropical reefs may be contaminated.

     4. Proper Disposal of Waste

When living with cholerae is a necessary requirement to dig deep latrines. The latrines should advisably be located away from water sources such as taps or any water body at all. They should be deep to prevent flooding. In this manner, it is difficult for bacteria from the infected persons to find their way back to the healthy individuals or the infected after they recover.

Hands should be thoroughly washed after visiting these latrines to prevent carrying any bacterium from the latrines through our hands. All surface should be disinfected regularly to kill bacterium that persists on the latrine surface. Where latrines may be lacking, be sure not to defecate near water bodies as this may contaminate the whole water body.

     5. Proper Cooking of Food

Food should be cooked very carefully, as cooking helpskill the bacteria that may be present in the food. Seafood should be handled extremely carefully as it has a high chance of being contaminated by the bacteria. They should be long cooked and never eaten raw. In addition to proper cooking, the food should be kept covered. Flying insects may carry the bacteria from the feces of infected people and land on the food depositing them there. This spreads the infection instead of managing or curbing it. Preferably, the food should be eaten when hot to further prevent survival of the bacteria

The Bottom Line

Cholera is a disease that can be easily managed as one receives treatment. It is also possible to avoid it and lead a cholera free life. By following the above tips, you should be able to steer clear of its adverse effects.