Image Source: FreeImages
Cholera is an acute, life-threatening diarrheal illness caused by the Vibrio cholera bacterium. The disease is spread through contaminated water and foods. It can also be transmitted by person-to-person contact with an infected person who has not taken proper precautions. Cholera primarily affects people in developing countries where sanitation, access to clean water, and good hygiene are not as reliable as they are in developed countries. However, it does occur in some parts of the United States as well as other developed countries, such as Italy and Spain. If left untreated, cholera can progress quickly and cause a person’s death within hours from dehydration or multiple organ failure if left unchecked. Cholera prevention measures aim to reduce the chance that people will get cholera so that fewer people die from it. Knowing what you can do to keep yourself safe from cholera will help make sure you don’t become a victim of it.
If you want to stay healthy while traveling – get vaccinated against the most common diseases in your region!
Drink water regularly.
Cholera is caused by bacteria that like a warm environment. If you’re not getting enough water, the bacteria can grow, causing you to become dehydrated. This is one of the first symptoms of cholera, so don’t ignore it. Dehydration is a common cause of death in cholera. Humans lack the antibodies in their gut that help protect them against many microbes. So, if you’re infected with cholera, your body doesn’t immediately recognize it as a threat. Within hours to days, you could experience rapid dehydration and severe electrolyte imbalances that can lead to heart problems and death. Drinking enough water is critical to prevent this from happening.
Avoid eating or drinking anything that seems questionable.
Food and beverages that look or smell suspicious should be avoided for the health of your family and friends as well. This includes raw vegetables and fruits that have been unwashed and not properly cleaned, uncooked or undercooked seafood, unpasteurized beverages (such as milk, juices, and water), and unboiled or unsterilized drinking water. If you’re not sure about the cleanliness of the food or drink you’re consuming, or you’re travelling to an area where cholera is prevalent, you should avoid it. Doing so can save lives by preventing you from becoming infected with cholera and preventing other people in your group from catching it as well.
Be aware of when you’re travelling to areas with cholera.
Cholera outbreaks are often marked by a sudden increase in cases and deaths. This is because people don’t know they’re infected and are travelling to areas where the disease is present. Such outbreaks can occur anywhere in the world, though they are more common in tropical regions such as sub-Saharan Africa and South and Central America. If you’re travelling to an area where cholera is possible, you should be aware of it. If you have any symptoms of cholera such as severe diarrhea, vomiting, or dehydration, you should seek medical attention as soon as possible and inform the doctors about your travel history.
Practice safe hygiene.
Practicing good hygiene can prevent cholera from spreading through contaminated water and food. Good hygiene includes washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds and keeping them clean while you eat and prepare your food. You should also avoid drinking from a contaminated source such as a river, lake, or toilet bowl, or using a public toilet. It’s also important to practice good hygiene when preparing food and cleaning food or water preparation surfaces. Never soak food or drinking utensils in water and then use them to eat or drink out of. Instead, use a clean utensil, or wash the utensil and then use it to eat or drink.
Keep your hands clean.
Wash your hands regularly, especially if you’ve been touching your mouth or nose while you’re sick. It’s also a good idea to wash your hands before preparing food for your family and when you’re cleaning your house. Hand sanitizing gel is available in most stores that sell food and household items, and is a quick and easy way to keep your hands clean. You can also use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that’s just as effective.
Sanitation is key.
The best way to prevent the spread of cholera is to practice good hygiene, keep your hands clean, and drink only water that has been tested and is considered clean. You should also wash your dishes, utensils, and any surfaces that have come into contact with raw foods such as seafood. The water that you use to fill your toilet, bathe in, and drink from should also be considered contaminated. If possible, use a public toilet that’s been flushed with clean water.
Find out where the nearest hospital is and know how to get there in case of an emergency.
If you or someone you know gets sick with cholera, it’s important to know where the nearest hospital is so that you can get the treatment you need as quickly as possible. You should also know how to get there in case of an emergency so that you don’t get stuck in traffic or disoriented while trying to get to the hospital. Know the address and phone number of your local hospital and make sure you have it memorized. You can also memorize the address of the nearest Red Cross or Salvation Army branch. If you’re stranded somewhere without access to a phone or computer, you can also write the address down on a piece of paper and keep it with you.
Cholera vaccines are being developed.
Vaccines against cholera are still in the early stages of development, but scientists are working to develop them. In 2015, the World Health Organization released a draft plan for a cholera vaccine. The goal is to have the vaccine be available to people around the world by 2023. Researchers are looking at ways to prevent the bacteria from entering the body, as well as ways to counteract the disease once it is inside. One proposed strategy is to “flip a switch” inside the body that would turn off the immune system once it recognizes the bacterium as harmful.
Cholera is a dangerous and quick-moving disease that can kill if left untreated. Proper hygiene along with drinking water that has been properly filtered can help keep you and your loved ones safe. The best way to prevent cholera is to practice good hygiene by keeping your hands clean while you’re eating and preparing food, and using a hand sanitizer when you’re not. You should also drink only water that has been tested for bacteria and is considered safe.