How to Survive The Cholera Crisis
In July 2021, Nigeria announced a cholera outbreak in Abuja as well as other cities and recorded over 60 deaths.
Cholera is a communicable disease caused by Vibrio Cholera (most common strains being O1 and O139), which causes severe diarrhea and dehydration. It is transmitted through the fecal-oral route by the consumption of contaminated food and water.
Given the current festivities and sharing of food among friends and family, it's easy to understand how this infection would have spread as widely as it did. That?s why this article is here to help you understand the basics of cholera, how to prevent it, and manage it promptly to avoid negative outcomes.
Cholera is transmitted through the consumption of food and water which has been contaminated by Vibrio cholera, like seafood, fresh vegetables, roadside food and drinks, sachet water, etc. A person who is infected with cholera can present with symptoms within a few hours to about 5 days and the severity of symptoms can range from mild to severe.
Symptoms to look out for in cholera pass g is watery stool multiple times, with a characteristic rice water feature (stool which looks like water used to wash rice, with very little fecal matter). Due to this, patients are severely dehydrated with sunken eyes appearance, cold skin, weakness, and vomiting.
Cholera is a medical and public health emergency and should be treated as such. Management must start at home as soon as symptoms are noticed, and the patient should be transported to the nearest health center immediately in order to reduce mortality.
Patients who are experiencing diarrhea and vomiting should be given oral hydration solution which can easily be made at home by mixing half a teaspoon of salt and 6 teaspoons of sugar into one liter of clean water. Half a cup of ORS should be given after each episode of watery stool or vomiting while the patient is being transported to the hospital.
Cholera is preventable, even in the middle of an outbreak. First, people should be made aware and vaccinated again for cholera using the Vaxchora vaccine, available for individuals from 18-64 years. It is also imperative that everyone maintains good personal, environmental, and food hygiene like washing hands with soap and clean water, boiling drinking water, disposing of wastes and trash properly, away from sources of drinking water, washing fruits and vegetables properly before consumption, cooking meals properly and isolation of sick individuals. Healthcare workers must also use personal protective equipment as well as maintaining proper hygiene to prevent contracting the infection.
It's important to note that children are at higher risk of developing severe cholera infection and complications, therefore more precautions and safety measures should be employed in their care, especially for those who live in areas with the current cholera crisis. Some of these complications include severe dehydration, shock, hypoglycemia, acute kidney injury as well as death.
In conclusion, we should all be practicing proper food and personal hygiene so as to reduce the incidence of cholera in Nigeria and stay hydrated.
Have a lovely celebration