Waterborne diseases refer to those illnesses caused by consuming water contaminated by pathogenic microorganisms. This contamination is most likely to occur when water comes in contact with microbe infected human or animal feces.
Some of the common waterborne diseases and its symptoms are listed below:
- Amoebiasis: Amoebiasis refers to the waterborne disease caused by Entamoeba, protozoa which latch on to the intestine. Symptoms of Amoebiasis include abdominal cramps, Loose motion, Discharge of blood in stools, and frequent eructation.
- Giardiasis: Giardiasis is an infection caused by the parasite Giardia and can commonly be found in India and most underdeveloped countries. Symptoms of Giardiasis include abrupt loss of body weight, nausea, abdominal cramps, and bloating.
- Hepatitis A: Hepatitis A is a waterborne viral disease that affects the liver. Symptoms of Hepatitis A include Pale-colored stools, Fever, Fatigue, and Weight loss.
- Cholera: Caused by the Vibrio Cholerae bacteria, Cholera can be potentially fatal. Symptoms of Cholera include muscle cramps, severe dehydration, and reduced elasticity of the skin, dryness in the mouth and eyes. Make sure to seek the professional opinion of an expert if you are displaying any of these symptoms. You can also consult doctors online for the same.
- Typhoid: Typhoid is a contagious waterborne disease that occurs when the Salmonella Typhi bacteria enters the body orally and affects the intestine. Symptoms of typhoid include constipation, Diarrhea, Cough, Skin rashes, and Fatigue.
- Dysentry: Dysentry is caused by an intestinal infection which leads to severe diarrhea with traces of blood and mucus in the stool. Other symptoms of dysentery include Fever, Nausea, Vomiting, and Dehydration.
According to studies by the World Health Organization, 80% of diseases worldwide are waterborne and can often be deadly. It is imperative to be cautious and practice hygiene to keep such infectious diseases at bay. Some of how waterborne diseases can be prevented are:
- Ensure that your water sources are all visibly clean and well maintained. If not, filter the water to get rid of visible dirt and boil it before consumption.
- Leverage water purifiers and RO units to purify your water before consumption. Ensure these are regularly serviced as well.
- Waterborne diseases spread due to both consumptions as well as the usage of contaminated water. Use antiseptic liquids such as Dettol in your bathwater.
- Religious practice hand hygiene. Make sure to wash/sanitize your hands every time you come back home after interacting with an external environment, after using the toilet especially public restrooms, before cooking, and before consuming anything, especially if it is with your bare hands.
- Since fingernails are breeding ground for bacteria, make sure to clip your nails regularly, especially for children that enjoy playing outdoors.
- Ensure your raw produce is washed in water infused with turmeric and salt before cooking with them. Be extra vigilant in the case of raw meat and root vegetables.
- Refrain from using cutlery provided by the restaurant. Opt for disposable cups and paper plates instead, especially while consuming street food.
- Make sure to refrigerate cooked leftover food and avoid using frozen produce.
- Take vaccinations for immunization against preventable diseases such as Typhoid, Hepatitis A, Polio, etc.
While Waterborne diseases can be both contagious and fatal, most of these can be prevented by being vigilant with and maintaining good hygiene standards. If you witness yourself or anyone you know, displaying any of the common symptoms of waterborne diseases such as Fever, Fatigue, Diarrhea make sure to check with a doctor immediately. Since certain waterborne diseases can be contagious, you can also consult doctors online.