Cholera is a bacterial disease usually spread through contaminated water. Cholera causes severe diarrhea and dehydration.
SYMPTOMS OF CHOLERA
- Diarrhea-Cholera-related diarrhea comes on suddenly and can quickly cause dangerous fluid loss. Diarrhea due to cholera often has a pale, milky appearance that resembles water in which rice has been rinsed.
- Nausea and vomiting-Vomiting occurs especially in the early stages of cholera and can last for hours.
Dehydration-Dehydration can develop within hours after cholera symptoms start and range from mild to severe. A loss of 10% or more of body weight indicates severe dehydration.
Signs and symptoms of cholera dehydration include irritability, fatigue, sunken eyes, a dry mouth, extreme thirst, dry and shriveled skin that is slow to bounce back when pinched into a fold, little or no urinating, low blood pressure, and an irregular heartbeat.
Dehydration can lead to a rapid loss of minerals in your blood that maintain the balance of fluids in your body. This is called an electrolyte imbalance.
- Muscle cramps. These result from the rapid loss of salts such as sodium, chloride and potassium.
- Shock. This is one of the most serious complications of dehydration. It occurs when low blood volume causes a drop in blood pressure and a drop in the amount of oxygen in your body. If untreated, severe hypovolemic shock can cause death in minutes.
CAUSES OF CHOLERA
A bacteria called Vibrio cholerae causes cholera infection.
Contaminated water supplies are the main source of cholera infection. The bacteria can be found in:
- Surface or well water- Contaminated public wells are frequent sources of large-scale cholera outbreaks. People living in crowded conditions without adequate sanitation are especially at risk.
- Seafood-Eating raw or undercooked seafood, especially shellfish, that comes from certain places can expose you to cholera bacteria.
- Raw fruits and vegetables- Raw, unpeeled fruits and vegetables are a frequent source of cholera infection in areas where there's cholera. In developing countries, uncomposted manure fertilizers or irrigation water containing raw sewage can contaminate produce in the field.
- Grains- In regions where cholera is widespread, grains such as rice and millet that are contaminated after cooking and kept at room temperature for several hours can grow cholera bacteria.
Risk factors for cholera include:
- Poor sanitary conditions. Cholera is more likely to flourish in situations where a sanitary environment — including a safe water supply — is difficult to maintain. Such conditions are common to refugee camps, impoverished countries, and areas afflicted by famine, war or natural disasters.
- Type O blood. For reasons that aren't entirely clear, people with type O blood are twice as likely to develop cholera compared with people with other blood types.
COMPLICATIONS OF CHOLERA
Although shock and severe dehydration are the worst complications of cholera, other problems can occur, such as:
- Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia)-Dangerously low levels of blood sugar (glucose) — the body's main energy source — can occur when people become too ill to eat. Children are at greatest risk of this complication, which can cause seizures, unconsciousness and even death.
- Low potassium levels-People with cholera lose large quantities of minerals, including potassium, in their stools. Very low potassium levels interfere with heart and nerve function and are life-threatening.
- Kidney failure- When the kidneys lose their filtering ability, excess amounts of fluids, some electrolytes and wastes build up in the body — a potentially life-threatening condition. In people with cholera, kidney failure often accompanies shock.
PREVENTION OF CHOLERA
If we're traveling to areas known to have cholera, our risk of contracting the disease is extremely low if we follow these precautions:
- Hands wash with soap and water frequently- Especially after using the toilet and before handling food. Rub soapy, wet hands together for at least 15 seconds before rinsing. If soap and water aren't available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
Drink only safe water-Drink bottled water or boiled water
Hot beverages are generally safe, as are canned or bottled drinks, but wipe the outside before open them. Don't add ice
- Eat completely food
- Stick to fruits and vegetables that you can peel yourself, such as bananas, oranges and avocados. Stay away from salads and fruits that can't be peeled, such as grapes and berries.
HOMEOPATHIC TREATMENT FOR CHOLERA
IPECAC : Very useful medicine for cholera with persistence nausea. Given when there is no thirst but a clean tongue and watery stools.
CAMPHORA : Very useful medicine for cholera when patient is having rumbling and sharp cutting pains in the abdomen followed by cold clammy sweat of intermittent character. There are cramps in the claves.
CROTON TIG : Usefull for cholera with profuse diarrhea that gushes out. There is costat urge to pass stool with marked urgency. Given when stool is watery, yellowish or dirty greenish and profuse. There is a lot of rumbling, gurgling in the abdomen and passing of flatus along with stool.Useful for Colic before passing stool, extreme weakness, nausea, cold body and dizziness may also be present with the above features.
PODOPHYLLUM : Usefull for cholera with painless diarrhea.Given when stool is yellow-greenish, watery, gushing, and offensive, but does not cause any abdominal pain.There is foetid flatus, gurgling in the bowels followed by copious evacuation, and vomiting of hot, frothy matter is usually present.