Patient's Complete Guide to Cholera

Overview of Cholera

Cholera Meaning in Urdu

ہیضہ ایک بیکٹیریل انفیکشن ہے جو کسی بھی عمر کے افراد کو شکار بنا سکتا ہے۔ اس کی وجہ سے زیادہ تر اسہال کا سامنا کرنا پڑتا ہے، اگر یہ شدت اختیار کر جائے تو بار بار قے کا بھی سامنا کرنا پڑتا ہے۔ جب لوگ گندہ کھانا یا پانی پیتے ہیں تو ہیضہ کی وجہ بننے والا بیکٹیریا جسم میں داخل ہو جاتا ہے اور صحت کو متاثر کرتا ہے۔ ہیضہ کی وجہ سے پانی کی کمی کا بھی سامنا کرنا پڑ سکتا ہے۔ اس لیے ڈاکٹر ہیضہ لاحق ہونے کی صورت میں لیموں پانی زیادہ استعمال کرنے کا مشورہ دیتے ہیں۔

Cholera is an acute diarrheal illness caused by Vibrio cholerae bacteria. It can lead to severe dehydration or result in death if left untreated. It spreads through contaminated water.

There is a high risk of cholera when people live in crowded conditions due to floods, or any other natural disasters. Such conditions do not allow for adequate sanitation. However, cholera is not a complicated disease that is easy to treat.

Signs and Symptoms of Cholera

Many people who get infected with Vibrio cholerae bacteria do not experience any signs or symptoms. But still, they can spread the infection through contaminated water.

The symptoms in infected people range from mild to severe diarrhea. It takes only a few days to develop serious symptoms of cholera after being infected by a cholera bacterium.

Signs and symptoms of cholera infection may include:

Diarrhea

The very first or instant symptom of cholera infection is diarrhea which ranges from mild to severe. It results in fluid loss and leads to dehydration. This type of diarrhea contains a milky and pale appearance that looks like water or rice.

Dehydration

It takes a few hours to develop dehydration due to cholera symptoms, like diarrhea.

Vomiting

A person may experience vomiting at the early cholera stage.

Untreated dehydration may lead to severe symptoms of dehydration, like fatigue, dry mouth, extreme thirst, shriveled skin, sunken eyes, irritability, etc. It also leads to low blood pressure, irregular heartbeat, no urinating, etc. dehydration also results in mineral loss which is responsible for fluid balance in the body, known as electrolyte imbalance.

Electrolyte imbalance may lead to serious signs and symptoms:

  • Muscle cramps occur when there is a loss of sodium, potassium, and chlorides in the body.
  • Shock is also a complication of dehydration that occurs due to low blood volume. It leads to low pressure and oxygen levels. It needs treatment or can result in death.

Other symptoms include:

  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Low blood pressure
  • Loss of skin elasticity
  • Dry mucous membrane

Causes of Cholera

Vibrio cholerae is the main cause of cholera infection. The bacteria produce toxins in the small intestine that make your body secret water which leads to diarrhea and results in fluid loss (electrolytes).

People who are exposed to the bacteria do not always get sick or experience the symptoms but these people pass bacteria through stool. Affected people can also contaminate food and water that can spread the bacteria from one to another.

The following water supplies may be contaminated:

Raw Fruits and Vegetables: One of the frequent sources of bacteria is raw fruits and vegetables. They are a high source of cholera infection.

Grains: If the grains are cooked and kept at room temperature for a few hours allows the cholera bacteria to grow in areas where cholera is common.

Seafood: Undercooked seafood can increase the risk of cholera bacteria.

Well Water: Public wells can lead to more cholera outbreaks.

Risk Factors of Cholera

Cholera can develop in anyone but the following factors can put you at high risk:

Living with a person who has the disease can increase your risk of having the same infection.

Eating Raw Fish which is not cooked properly can spread the infection.

Type O blood people are more likely to develop cholera disease as compared to other blood types.

Areas with unsanitary conditions have contaminated water. People who are living in crowded areas are at risk of developing cholera.

People with reduced stomach acid can put you at high risk of developing cholera disease.

Complications of Cholera

Cholera can progress and affect your body which can even lead to death. It happens due to a large amount of loss of fluids and electrolytes.

Immediate treatment can help to save the patient. Dehydration and shock are the common and early signs that an infected person experiences. Some other cholera problems can appear:

Kidney failure can occur due to a loss of filtering ability

Low potassium levels disrupt the heart and nerve function which can be life-threatening.

One of the main body energy is sugar level which drops due to cholera and leads to seizures and even death.

Prevention

The following tips can help to prevent cholera:

  • Always wash your hands with a gentle soap
  • Avoid drinking water from a well or until it is safe to drink
  • Never eat undercooked food
  • Skip sushi eating
  • Always peel off fruits and vegetables
  • Cholera vaccine is crucial as a precaution in areas with cholera outbreaks or before traveling to such areas

Diagnosis

A stool sample can help to detect the bacteria type. Your doctor may try a rapid cholera dipstick test to diagnose cholera. This test leads to immediate treatment and minimizes the death risk.

Treatment of Cholera | When to Consult a Doctor

Immediate treatment can save the life of the infected person because cholera often leads to death within a few hours.

Rehydration: Simple rehydration solutions like oral rehydration salts (ORS) can replace the lost fluids.

Intravenous Fluids: oral rehydration can help to treat dehydration but in rare cases, some intravenous fluids are required.

Zinc Supplements: Zinc decreases diarrhea and shortens the cholera period in children.

Antibiotics: It is not a part of cholera treatment but helps to reduce diarrhea caused by cholera bacterium.

Doctors to treat Cholera in Pakistan

Speciality for Cholera

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