Cholera has been nicknamed the blue death because it causes severe dehydration which causes the skin to turn bluish gray.
Drinking or eating faecally contaminated water or food is how we ingest the bacterium (Vibrio cholera) that causes cholera. To contact this disease, you either do not have access to safe water or you have bad hygiene habits. A person might get infected and not show symptoms but could however infect other people since the bacterium is passed through faeces back into the environment up to 7-14days after infection.
The symptoms include dehydration and severe watery diarrhoea with or without vomiting. It kills both adult and children especially people with reduced immunity because it leads to severe dehydration within hours if left untreated.
To save yourself or loved ones from the fatal outcome of this disease, feed infected person (whether adult or child) constantly, prepare a solution of Oral Rehydration Therapy (ORT) by mixing half teaspoon of salt with 6 teaspoon of sugar in 1 liter of water (you could add mashed banana) and administer before you get to a health facility.
This provides yet another reason why we should embrace a culture of hand washing. After defecation, before eating, before handling food…just wash your hands all the time and you will save yourself the grief of contacting this disease.
Another way to prevent this disease is by preparing and conserving food properly and safely. Food safety is important so you might want to have a rethink the next time you are tempted to buy and eat something you are not sure about how safely it was prepared. This is not restricted to the roadside vendors (even though they are the most likely offenders) as some of them are neater than the big eateries we feel are safer.
This recent outbreak in Nigeria that has so far reportedly registered 3 deaths in Lagos state and 8 deaths in Plateau state with many others treated and discharged. In Lagos, the outbreak was linked to unsafe water and eating African salad (Abacha).
Even though access to safe drinking water might prove problematic in some areas in Nigeria, if we practice safety be it in food preparation and conservation or in regular hand washing, then we can all save ourselves the grief of this disease.

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