Add a Disease

The word cholera is derived from a Greek term “Khole” that means "flow of bile." And Latin word “Cholera” which means ‘billious diarrhea’. Cholera is an acute intestinal infection caused by ingestion of food or water contaminated by a comma-shaped bacteria Vibrio cholerae, the most feared epidemic diarrheal disease because of its severity.

In India, it's common among children ages 1 to 5, but in other endemic areas, it's equally distributed among all age-groups.

Causes of Cholera
The most common cause of cholera is:

  • It is caused by a germ known as “Vibrio Cholerae”
  • Exposure from poor hygiene
  • Eating raw or undercooked food, shellfish
  • Susceptibility to cholera may be increased by a deficiency or an absence of hydrochloric acid.

After a disaster, this is a very real danger, since regular, clean water and food supplies are often unavailable. The disease can be spread even further by infected people using already dirty water sources to clean themselves or dispose of waste.

Signs & Symptoms of Cholera
Symptoms begin 1 to 3 days after infection and range from mild, uncomplicated diarrhea to severe, potentially fatal disease. Some infected people have no symptoms. The infection is often mild or without symptoms, but sometimes can be severe. The infected person has several symptoms which can be characterized by:

  • Abdominal cramps
  • Dehydration
  • Diarrhea has a "fishy" odor 
  • Dry mouth 
  • Dry skin 
  • Excessive thirst
  • Leg cramps
  • Low urine output 
  • Low Blood Pressure
  • Nausea 
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Sunken eyes 
  • Tiredness 
  • Unusual sleepiness
  • Vomiting
  • Watery diarrhea

In the infected persons, rapid loss of body fluids leads to dehydration and shock. Without treatment, death can occur within hours.

Diagnosis of Cholera
Cholera is diagnosed by taking the stool sample and to identify the bacteria that can cause cholera. Cholera requires immediate treatment because of watery diarrhea, so the doctors are likely to begin rehydration before a definitive diagnosis is made.

  • A doctor confirms a diagnosis of cholera by recovering the bacteria from rectal swabs or from fresh stool samples.
  • A dark-field microscopic examination of fresh feces showing rapidly moving bacilli allows for a quick, tentative diagnosis.
  • Cholera can be confirmed only by the isolation of the causative organism from the diarrheic stools of infected individuals. 
  • All food isolates must be tested for the production of cholera enterotoxin.

Preventions of Cholera
Cholera is usually transmitted through contaminated water or food. Outbreaks can occur in any part of the world where water supply, sanitation, food safety, and hygiene are inadequate.

  • Drink only boiled water or water that has been treated with chlorine or iodine. 
  • Eat only thoroughly cooked food and are still hot, or fruit that you have peeled yourself. 
  • Avoid undercooked or raw fish or shellfish. 
  • Make sure all vegetables are cooked properly, avoid salads. 
  • Avoid foods and beverages from street vendors. 
  • Do not bring perishable seafood. 
  • Check for proper sanitation and water purification systems
  • Give liquid bland foods, lemon, onions and mint to the patient
  • Vegetables and fruits must be washed with solution of potassium permanganate
  • New Vaccines for cholera are available and appear to provide a somewhat better immunity and fewer side-effects than the previously available vaccine.
  • Health education aimed at behaviour change is thus an important component of cholera prevention and control.

Treatments of Cholera
Cholera is an easily treatable disease.

  • Water and electrolyte replacement are essential treatments for cholera, The prompt administration of oral re-hydration salts to replace lost fluids nearly always results in cure. 
  • Use of antibiotics
  • Hands that touch cholera patients or their clothing and bedding should be thoroughly cleaned and sterilized.
  • Use of highly hygienic, properly cooked food and cleaned boiled water.
  • Rigid purification of water supply and proper disposal of human excreta.
  • If left untreated, cholera can kill quickly.

Home Treatments for Cholera

Home Treatments for Cholera includes:
Use of Lemon: The juice of Lemon can kill cholera bacilli within a very short period of time. It can be taken in the form of a sweetened or salted beverage for this purpose.

Use of Guava Root Bark: Thirty grams of the root bark should be used in half a litre of water to make the decoction. The water should be boiled down to reduce it by one-third. This decoction can be taken twice daily.

Use of Onion: Onions are another valuable remedy for cholera. About thirty grams of onion and seven black peppers should be pounded finely in a pestle and given to the patient in two or three doses during the day.

Use of Bitter Gourd: The fresh juice of bitter gourd is an effective medicine in the early stages of cholera. Two teaspoons of this juice, mixed with an equal quantity of white onion juice and a teaspoon of lime juice, should be given twice daily in the treatment of this condition.

Use of Cucumber: A glass of fresh juice of cucumber leaves with an equal quantity of tender coconut water, given in doses of 30-60 ml, forms a valuable remedy for excessive thirst during cholera.

Use of Clove: Cloves are useful in cholera. About four grams of cloves should be boiled in three litres of water until half of the water has evaporated. The decoction thus prepared should be given to the patient several times during the day.

Previous Disease : Elephantiasis
Next Disease : Anthrax