Healthcare providers at the Dadaab Refugee camp in June 2021 confirmed that there were at least 4 cases of Cholera infections within the camp. A series of laboratory tests confirmed a need to be on a high alert for a possible Cholera outbreak.
In this article we intend to help you know what to do if you get cholera and some of the things you can do to protect yourself and your loved ones from getting the disease.
What is Cholera?
The World Health Organization (WHO) defines Cholera as an acute diarrheal infection that occurs when one eats food or drinks water that is contaminated. Cholera causes severe watery diarrhea and can kill within hours if left untreated.
You can read more facts about the disease here.
Symptoms of Cholera
If you get Cholera, you are likely to have severe acute watery diarrhoea. It takes between 12 hours and 5 days for a person to show symptoms after eating food or drinking water that is contaminated. Both children and adults can get cholera.
The bacteria causing Cholera can stay in the body up to days after infection and even those who have no symptoms can pass it to healthy people if they do not practice proper hygiene after visiting the toilet.
So, what should you do if you or any of your family members and loved ones get Cholera?
- Use a latrine and wash your hands thoroughly after using the latrine.
- Use soap and clean water when washing your hands.
- Make Oral Rehydration Solution (ORS) right away and drink a lot of this solution.
- Go to the clinic as soon as you can. Drink more oral rehydration (ORS) while on the way to hospital.
What is ORS?
ORS stands for Oral Rehydration Solution - This is a type of fluid used to prevent and treat dehydration especially due to diarrhea and vomiting. It comes in form of a sachet and has combination of sugar and salt that is mixed with safe drinking water.
Where can I get the ORS?
The solution is available in all health facilities, and it is also provided by Community Health Workers (CHWs) at the block level in the refugee camps.
If I do not have ORS, what alternatives are available?
Healthcare providers encourage that you drink plenty of safe water while you seek urgent medical care.
Use these tips to prepare food safely to avoid contamination that can lead to Cholera infection.
- Wash your hands with clean water before cooking.
- Use clean water to cook food.
- Clean kitchen surfaces, pans, and utensils with soap and clean water.
- Cover cooked food before storing and ensure you heat it before eating.
- Only eat food that has been cooked by you or someone you trust.
Keeping your hands clean always is highly recommended. You should to the following to maintain proper hand hygiene.
- Wash your hands before you eat or prepare food.
- Wash your hands before feeding other people.
- Wash your hands after cleaning your child’s bottom.
- Wash your hands after going to the toilet.
- Wash your hands after taking care of someone ill with diarrhea.
Here are tips on how to properly wash your hands to keep Cholera away.
- Wet your hands with clean water.
- Lather thoroughly with soap. Cover all the skin on your hands. Clean under your nails.
- After proper cleaning with soap, rinse hands with clean water that’s available at the water points in the camp.
- Use a clean towel or a clean piece of cloth to dry. If you have no towel, you can rub your hands together and let them air dry.
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