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Water Borne Diseases – Symptoms, Treatment and Prevention

water borne diseases - Symtpoms, prevention and treatment
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Water is the driving force of nature. Pure water is the first and foremost medicine, and therefore there is no life without water. Water has x number of benefits, and that is why keeping water clean and hygienic for all should be every individual’s priority. Water is essential and precious for survival, and if not taken care of or contaminated can cause and spread illnesses like water-borne diseases.

In this article, Dr. Rajeev Gupta shares what are and how one can prevent water borne diseases.

What are Waterborne Diseases?

Consumption of contaminated water or food after coming in contact with the person who has it or with the bacteria itself can lead to infection, thereby having water borne diseases. Ingesting contaminated water or coming into contact with excrement can cause illnesses caused by tiny organisms such as viruses and bacteria.

These diseases would not exist if everyone surrounding us was able to practice proper sanitation and hygiene and had access to clean water.

Typhoid Fever

Typhoid fever is an infection that spreads through food that is contaminated and unhygienic water. People living in poor sanitation areas are more prone to be infected with typhoid fever. It can partly be treated by vaccine if proper precautions should be taken to restrict the spread of the infection.

Symptoms 

  • High fever
  • Muscle pain
  • Weakness
  • Stomach ache
  • Vomiting 
  • Loose motions

Treatment of typhoid fever

The treatment recommended and prescribed by the doctor will be antibiotics and fluids.

Prevention of typhoid fever

To prevent the infection, timely vaccines are recommended for people who live or travel in places where there is poor sanitation and unhygienic drinking water. In such places, avoid drinking tap water and always prefer bottled water.

Cholera

Cholera is a bacterial disease that is commonly found in rural villages where there is poor sanitation. Cholera is a disease that spreads through water and can be fatal if it is not treated on time. 

Symptoms

  • Dehydration
  • Diarrhoea
  • Muscle cramps 
  • Vomiting

Treatment 

The treatment plan for cholera is rehydrating the body with IVF fluids and antibiotics.

Prevention

Washing your hands properly and often can help prevent cholera or any water borne disease. Eat completely cooked food and wash vegetables with fresh water only. 

Giardia

Giardia, also called beaver fever, is an intestinal infection caused by a parasite named giardia. It is another type of water borne disease that spreads through contaminated water and food. Giardia can also spread person-to-person. However, the infection is cleared from the system in a few weeks but can affect the intestines for years. 

Symptoms

  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Belching wind
  • Cramps 
  • Weight loss
  • Bloating
  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhoea or loose motions

Treatment 

Like other water-borne diseases, giardia is also treated by antibiotics and anti-parasite.

Prevention 

Though there is no vaccine available for giardia until now, there are simple changes one can make to avoid the infection. For example, washing hands with soap every now and then, avoiding swallowing swimming pool water, and drinking bottled water only.

Dysentery

Dysentery is an intestinal infection characterised by inflammation and bloody diarrhoea. The bacteria which causes dysentery is shigella bacteria (shigellosis) or an amoeba. It is spread through contaminated water and food.

Symptoms

  • Abdominal pain
  • Cramps
  • Fever
  • Vomiting
  • Malaise
  • Dehydration
  • Bloody diarrhoea
  • Nausea

Treatment

Increased fluid intake, rehydration solutions, IV fluids, and antibiotics are all possible treatments for dysentery. With rest and drinks, mild dysentery usually goes away, and stomach cramps are relieved with over-the-counter medication. 

Prevention and Treatment

To prevent dysentery or any water-borne diseases, it is essential to wash hands frequently with soap for at least 60 seconds. In addition, avoid eating food from outside and try to increase your intake of fruits.

Hepatitis A

Hepatitis A is a contagious liver infection caused by contaminated water or food. Therefore, people travelling to several rural places should be extra cautious of their hygiene to prevent and protect themselves from any water borne diseases.

Symptoms 

  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Weight loss
  • Jaundice
  • Low grade fever

Treatment 

Though the infection clears away within weeks, it may also vary as per each case and the severity of the infection. Hepatitis A can leave your body feeling tired and weak for days and weeks, so taking extra care and rest is recommended until you fully recover.

Prevention

The best way to prevent Hepatitis A is a vaccine. Doctors always suggest that every individual get vaccinated against all types of water-borne diseases and others. In some nations, the government has made it mandatory for every individual to get vaccinations. Other than the vaccine, there are few things individuals can do in everyday life to prevent the infection. Maintain hygiene, wash hands before and after eating, use the toilet, sanitise hands every now and then, avoid intake of unwashed fruits and vegetables, and practice safe and protected sexual intimacy.

To conclude

Waterborne diseases can have adverse effects on the body, which may not be for a few days or a few weeks but for several years. In addition, it can make your intestines and immunity weak making it difficult for one to function normally. So, on doctors’ recommendation, it is advised to get all important vaccinations to lead a healthy life. To know more about water borne diseases, book an appointment with Dr. Rajeev Gupta


FAQs

Ques 1. What are the prevention of water borne diseases?

The best way to prevent water borne diseases is to get yourself vaccinated. In addition, other lifestyle changes like washing hands with soap, drinking bottled water only, avoiding street food, and sanitizing hands can help prevent water borne diseases.

Ques 2. What is the best way to achieve primary prevention of water-borne diseases?

Practicing good and healthy personal hygiene and vaccination can help one achieve primary prevention from water-borne diseases.