You are experiencing acute watery diarrhea. It is so intense that you can’t control it any more. There is this sharp abdominal pain that is making you to crawl like a snake. You feel exhausted. Dizziness cannot allow you to walk. Vomiting is becoming unbearable. You look yourself in the mirror and you can’t recognize yourself. Your eyes are sunken. Wrinkles are all over your hands. It all started after eating a delicacy with friends from one of the food joints. What baffles you is the fact that not all of your friends are going through this nightmare of rice like loose stool. I will advise you to start rehydrating yourself as you plan on how you are going to visit the nearest hospital for a specialized treatment. Make sure that you pass this message to your friends too. You might be suffering from Cholera.
Cholera is a bacterial condition that is associated with poor hygiene. It grows vigorously in water that has been contaminated by infectious fecal material. Drinking, washing utensils or foodstuff with polluted water is what leads to this life threatening situation. That is why fruits and vegetable salads are the major conduit for the transmission of Cholera. Well according to you, some of your friends didn’t take the fruit salad that you had ordered. This partially explains why they are not showing any sign of Cholera.
It is caused by a bacterium called vibrio cholerae which attach to the small intestines after it has been ingested. It releases toxicants (poisons) which trigger the watery diarrhea. These bacteria occur in different strains (breed) and this is what determines the severity of cholera. This explains further the reason why some of your friends experienced mild symptoms. Onset of the symptoms tends to occur within a day after eating the infected food.
DIAGNOSIS OF CHOLERA
Cholera is diagnosed by analyzing the liquid stool in the laboratory. However most of the time it is not practical to conduct lab tests to confirm Cholera when there is a pandemic outbreak. Diagnosis is made by putting into consideration the signs and symptoms and obtaining history from the patient. This is known as clinical diagnosis. Random samples are taken from patients so that specific strains of vibrio cholerae can be isolated. This guides clinicians in giving the most effective treatment.
Replenishing the lost fluids through diarrhea is the most therapeutic intervention when treating Cholera. Oral rehydration therapy with commercial solutions speeds recovery. In severe cases, intravenous fluids are administered.
World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that a patient should eat frequently in order to maintain the integrity of the intestines. The meals should be in small quantities because binge eating can trigger vomiting.
Antibiotics are rarely given unless the patient fails to recover from fluid replacement therapy. According to WHO, antibiotics should only be given in cases of severe dehydration. Zinc supplementation is also given in reducing diarrhea especially among children.
Due to the high intensity of the diarrhea, patients are admitted in special beds (Cholera Beds) which are holey to allow easier disposition of fecal matter. This assists in curbing the spread of cholera
It is the simple trivialized practices that end up bringing an outbreak of Cholera. Let us get to learn more on preventive measures of cholera.
- Defaecation (elimination of fecal matter from the anus) should only be done in the toilet.
- We should always wash our hands after visiting the toilet and before eating and cooking food.
- We should always wash vegetables and fruits with clean water.
- Water piping should not be done along the sewer line to prevent contamination.
- Proper drainage is also vital in preventing sewer drains from contaminating water source.
- Chlorination of drinking water is also important in mitigating occurrence of cholera.
We have a collective responsibility to keep our Environment clean. This is the only way we are going to insulate ourselves from Cholera. What I want you to note is the fact that this condition is not confined in informal settlement. It can equally occur in posh suburb.