What is Cholera ? What are the Symptoms of Cholera?

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What is Cholera?

Cholera is a bacterial infection that causes severe diarrhea and dehydration. It might lead to death if not treated. Cholera is caused by consuming food and water infected with a bacterium called Vibrio cholerae. Lack of a hygienic environment increases the threat of cholera. Let us know more about the disease , the causes, treatment, symptoms of cholera etc. 

  • What causes Cholera? 
  • What are the symptoms of Cholera? 
  • What is the treatment of Cholera? 
  • How to prevent Cholera?

What causes Cholera? 

The bacterium responsible for spreading Cholera is Vibrio cholerae, which is usually found in contaminated food and water. Some of the common causes of Cholera are mentioned below: 

  • The municipality supplies water. 
  • Ice is made with this water which might be infectious. 
  • Foods and drinks sold by street vendors might contain harmful microbes. 
  • If grown using contaminated water, vegetables become infected.
  • Raw or uncooked fish caught from contaminated sources cause infections. 
  • When a person consumes contaminated food or water, the bacteria release a toxin that results in severe diarrhea. (Read about- What is dysentery
  • It is unlikely to get infected with Cholera upon contact with an infected person.

What are the symptoms of Cholera? 

The symptoms of Cholera become visible after a few hours or days of getting infected. It may lead to serious symptoms as well. Some of the symptoms of Cholera are listed below: 

  • Uncontrollable thirst 
  • Rapid heart rate 
  • Skin damage (Read more- Skin care during monsoons
  • Dry mucosal membranes in throat, mouth and eyelids 
  • Muscular spasms 
  • If not given appropriate treatment, cholera might lead to death.

What is the treatment of Cholera? 

If not treated in time, Cholera can become extremely risky. Doctors treat Cholera in a number of ways. Most of the people infected with the bacteria have mild diarrhea and few or no symptoms. Only a fraction of the people infected with Cholera, require medical treatment at the health center. Cholera patients should be diagnosed and treated quickly. Appropriate treatment can even cure serious cases of Cholera.

  • Rehydration: ORS mixed with boiled water, reduce the symptoms of Cholera. 
  • Intravenous fluids: In the cases of severe dehydration, patients are given intravenous fluids. 
  • Antibiotics: Doctors prescribe several doses of antibiotics to cure Cholera. 

Useful information: Do not take any medicines without consulting a doctor.

How to prevent Cholera?

There is a vaccine developed for Cholera but it is effective only for a few months. That is the reason why the Centre for Disease Control (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) do not recommend the vaccine. However, you can stay protected by using boiled, purified or bottled water. Cholera can be prevented by the following measures: 

  • Use boiled or bottled water. Use chemically treated water.
  • Drink purified water.
  • Use clean water to drink and cook. 
  • Use clean water to make ice. 
  • Brush teeth twice a day. 
  • Wash face and hands. 
  • Use clean dishes and utensils to eat and prepare food. 
  • Wash fruits and vegetables properly. 

If you have any symptom of Cholera, contact a General Physician immediately.

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