21 Dead, 3047 Cases Reported: Cholera Prevention and Control Tips
What is cholera disease?
• Cholera disease causes a lot of watery diarrhoea and vomiting.
• Cholera diarrhoea can look like cloudy rice water.
• Cholera can cause death from dehydration (the loss of water and salts from the body) within hours if not treated.
How is cholera spread?
• Cholera germs are found in the faeces (poop) of infected people.
• Cholera is spread when faeces (poop) from an infected person
gets into the water people drink or the food people eat.
• Cholera is not likely to spread directly from one person
Protect yourself and your family from cholera and other diarrheal diseases:
1. Drink and use safe water*
- Bottled water with unbroken seals and canned/bottled carbonated beverages are safe to drink and use.
- Use safe water to brush your teeth, wash and prepare food, and to make ice.
- Clean food preparation areas and kitchenware with soap and safe water and let dry completely before reuse.
To be sure water is safe to drink and use:
- Boil it or treat it with a chlorine product or household bleach.
- If boiling, bring your water to a complete boil for at least 1 minute.
- To treat your water with chlorine, use one of the locally available treatment products and follow the instructions.
- If a chlorine treatment product is not available, you can treat your water with household bleach. Add 8 drops of household bleach for every 1 gallon of water (or 2 drops of household bleach for every 1 litre of water) and wait 30 minutes before drinking.
- Always store your treated water in a clean, covered container.
*Piped water sources, drinks sold in cups or bags, or ice may not be safe and should be boiled or treated with chlorine to another.
2. Wash your hands often with soap and safe water*
- Before you eat or prepare food
- Before feeding your children
- After using the latrine or toilet
- After cleaning your child’s bottom
- After taking care of someone ill with diarrhoea
* If no soap is available, scrub hands often with ash or sand and rinse with safe water.
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3. Use latrines or bury your faeces (poop); do not defecate in any body of water
- Use latrines or other sanitation systems, like chemical toilets, to dispose of faeces.
- Wash hands with soap and safe water after defecating.
- Clean latrines and surfaces contaminated with faeces using a solution of 1 part household bleach to 9 parts water.
4. Cook food well (especially seafood), keep it covered, eat it hot, and peel fruits and vegetables*
- Boil it, Cook it, Peel it, or Leave it.
- Be sure to cook shellfish (like crabs and crayfish) until they are very hot all the way through.
- *Avoid raw foods other than fruits and vegetables you have peeled yourself.
5. Clean up safely—in the kitchen and in places where the family bathes and washes clothes
Wash yourself, your children, diapers, and clothes, 30 meters (98 feet) away from drinking water sources.
What to do if you or your family are ill with diarrhoea:
- If you have oral rehydration solution (ORS), start taking it now; it can save your life.
- Go immediately to the nearest health facility.
- Continue to drink ORS at home and while you travel to get treatment.
- Continue to breastfeed your baby if they have watery diarrhoea, even when travelling to get treatment
Credit: Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)