Cholera is a serious illness caused by a germ resulting in diarrhea and vomiting; usually with no fever. People get infected through contaminated food and poor hygiene. It is confirmed by a stool examination.
As with every bacterial infection, the tendency is to use antibiotics as the miracle pill. Though not entirely wrong, the MOST IMPORTANT treatment of cholera is to STAY HYDRATED.
You lose a lot of water and salts from all the vomiting and diarrhea. It can get you dehydrated so quickly leading to kidney problems, coma and death. Too dramatic? Well getting sufficiently re-hydrated could save you from getting to that point.
Just drinking water alone won’t do the trick; it has to contain some salts.
You have 2 options
- Buy prepackaged Oral Rehydration Salts from a pharmacy
- Do it at home
Back to the antibiotic
-Most common antibiotics used in association to the hydration therapy are doxycycline in adults and azithromycin in children and pregnant women.
-Antibiotics are not used to prevent cholera and misuse can have serious effects
-Most antibiotics have gastrointestinal side effects like diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal cramping,…etc
-To be effective, use antibiotics as directed by your physician
-Remember to ask your health care provider questions in case you do not understand something.
If well re-hydrated and antibiotics taken as prescribed, symptoms of cholera subside in 3-6 days.
Cholera prevention tips
You can stop the spread of cholera too, by following the instructions from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
- Boil it (water), cook it (food), peel it (fruits) or forget it.
- Add to this good hygiene practices like proper hand washing especially before meals and after using the toilet.
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About the author
Dr. Ekwoge Hilda is a trained pharmacist from Cameroon and Co-founder of HILPharma. When she is not busy creating content, she slings pills to pay the bills.
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