June 14, 2024

5 ways to reduce risk of cholera infection



Cholera is a highly contagious disease that results in severe diarrhoea in both children and adults. If left untreated, it can lead to death within a matter of hours.

On Thursday, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (NCDC) raised an alarm about increasing cholera cases nationwide, with 30 deaths, 1,141 suspected cases, and 65 confirmed cases reported.

As the rainy season intensifies, here are five precautions to avoid cholera.

Drink and use safe water

One of the precautions for cholera is to use bottled water with intact seals for drinking, brushing teeth, food preparation, and beverage preparation; if unavailable, opt for properly chlorinated, boiled, or filtered water.

Also, ensure that it is stored in a clean and safe container before drinking or using it for other purposes.

Wash your hands often with soap and safe water

Wash your hands with soap and safe water before eating or handling food, before feeding your children, after using the latrine or toilet, after cleaning your child’s bottom, and after caring for someone sick with diarrhea, particularly during cholera outbreaks. If soap is unavailable, scrub hands frequently with ash or sand and rinse with safe water.

Cook food properly

Ensure that food is thoroughly cooked before consumption. Avoid consuming raw foods such as fruits and vegetables unless they have been washed in safe water or peeled by yourself.

Also, pay attention to the hygiene of the environment you’re in if you buy fruits or food outside; this is one important precaution to avoid cholera.

Avoid open defecation

Avoid open defecation and indiscriminate refuse dumping, ensuring proper waste disposal and frequent clearing of sewage, especially in areas reported to be prone to cholera outbreaks.

After defecation, wash hands with soap and safe water, and ensure the cleaning of latrines and surfaces contaminated with feces. If a proper toilet facility is unavailable, relieve yourself away from any body of water, including wells, and dispose of the waste properly by either burying it or placing it in a soak-away pit.

Clean areas safely

Ensure safe cleanliness in the kitchen and areas where the family bathes and washes clothes. Use soap and safe water to clean food preparation surfaces and kitchen utensils, allowing them to dry completely before reuse.

If you experience sudden, watery diarrhea, refrain from self-medication; instead, promptly seek medical attention at a healthcare facility. Take all individuals showing the signs or symptoms mentioned above to a healthcare facility without delay.