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SOS: I HAVE CHOLERA

Over the past few weeks, Nigeria has been hard hit with the outbreak of Cholera, especially along the Lagos Island axis and has since left 30 people dead and approximately 1141 suspected cases have been reported from across 30 states so far and more counting as reported by the Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC) and Lagos alone has had 15 casualties (deaths). The recent heavy rains in some areas too have aggravated the issue has many water sources have been contaminated.

What is Cholera?

Cholera is a disease cause by a bacterium (Vibrio Cholerae) that causes severe and complicated episodes of diarrhea and dehydration as a result of consuming food and water that has been contaminated with the bacteria. What happens is when the bacteria reach the gastrointestinal tract and begin to create toxins that make the individuals system to lose water at a very high rate. Cholera is very life-threatening if not treated immediately. Globally, cholera still remains of great public concern and has exposed the lack of services and inequalities that exist in our health systems. According to WHO, approximately 1.3 to 1.4 million people are affected each year.

 Signs and Symptoms

  • Severe dehydration
  • Abdominal pains
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Body weakness
  • Water-electrolyte imbalance (muscle cramps and ultimately shock)

 

Treatment

A person with cholera needs to be rushed to the hospital with immediate effects so that rehydration can commence with intravenous fluids but pending the transition to the hospital, the individual needs to be given Oral Rehydration Salts (ORS). This can be store bought or made at home.

HOW?

  1. Boil water and allow it cool
  2. Get a clean 1L bottle
  3. Pour in the water into the bottle and add half a teaspoon of salt and six level teaspoons of sugar.
  4. Shake and allow it to dissolve

NB: for children give half a cup after each loose stool and adults as much as you desire up to 2 liters.

 

How do I keep myself safe? Precautionary Measures

  • Avoid drinking water directly from the tap: If you can afford it, for this period invest in bottled water and even not, the easiest is to boil your water before drinking. But avoid drinking it directly.
  • Keep water storage covered: To prevent contamination, as much as possible, cover water storage places covered. For example, the drums and containers in the home used for water storage.
  • Avoid eating outside (Buka, street restaurants or on-the-go foods): It’s best to cook your food at home where you’re sure of the water source and food handling processes
  • Always wash your hands: Remember the times of COVID-19 where washing hands had become part of our activities? It’s time we get back and in fact it should be something we do without blinking and ensure to use soap and running water
  • Wash vegetables and fruits thoroughly: Do not eat your fruits and vegetables without first washing them and in this period of Cholera, it’s not enough to say the vendor has washed it. Wash your hands and wash the fruit or vegetables before consumption.
  • Make sure to cook food thoroughly: Raw or undercooked foods pose a great risk factor in the transmission of cholera so make sure you cook your meats, fish and every kind of food well before eating.
  • Carry a sanitizer around: This is very helpful especially in public areas or if you have to use public toilets. After using the toilet and washing your hands, a squeeze of sanitizer could help offer extra protection.
  • Avoid using toilets with faulty water systems: Diseases asides from cholera alone thrive in stagnant water so if the toilet isn’t flushable or the water system is faulty, try as much as possible to avoid it.

Cholera is communicable and the outlook can be very bad. Let’s try as much as possible to keep ourselves safe and if you notice any of the symptoms listed above don’t hesitate to present yourself or the affected persons at the hospital.

ORS is to be kept handy in this season and if the taste seems unpalatable for you, you can add a dash of orange.

HCI Healthcare is committed to keeping you updated and well informed on the health choices you need to make, be sure to reach out to us with your questions and possible concerns and would connect you to our network of services and professionals.

STAY SAFE.

Written By:
Rebecca Adeleke-Adesanmi, BSc. Nur., MA, Healthcare Mgt.
Health & Wellness Advocate.

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