Cholera prevention gets easier when proper sanitary conditions are maintained, and this is one of the main reasons why cholera is extremely rare in developed countries – due to the fact that they have advanced water treatment facilities and follow good sanitary practices. This disease can be prevented on a large scale by analyzing the causes of cholera and cholera facts.
The Basics Of Cholera Prevention
The following cholera prevention steps will help you stop the disease at any stage in its transmission cycle:
- Proper disposal of sewage
- Sterilization of contaminated infected materials (clothes, bedding)
- Use of disinfectants like chlorine beach
- Warning boards over contaminated water sources and directions on the water treatment strategies (by chlorination and boiling)
- Water purification measures (chlorination, boiling, ozone treatment, UV sterilization, filtration)
The CDC Guidelines On Cholera Prevention
The Center For Disease Control And Prevention (CDC) recommends five basic cholera prevention measures for people to follow, and these have been elaborated below.
Drink and Use Safe Water
Always use safe water to stay healthy. You should use:
- Bottled water with unbroken seals
- Canned/bottled beverages with unbroken seals
- Safe water for ice preparation
- Safe water to wash and prepare food
- Safe water to brush teeth
As far as possible, try and avoid:
- Piped water sources
- Drinks sold in cups or bags
- Ice made of water from unknown sources
- Food or beverages from street vendors
- Unpasteurized milk and milk products
You can make the available water safe through these cholera prevention measures.
- Boil the water at 100 °C for at least a minute
- Use chlorine treatment (or house hold bleach), and add two drops of household bleach for every liter of water, 30 minutes before drinking
- Store water in a clean and covered container
Always Wash your Hands Thoroughly
Wash your hands often with soap and water, before eating food, feeding food to children, or preparing food and after using toilets and meeting diarrheal patients.
Scrubbing your hands with ash or sand might work, in cases when soap is not available.
Dispose Feces Properly
When it comes to cholera prevention measures, this is very important. The proper disposal of feces can be taken care of through the following pointers.
- Always use latrines or other sanitary systems like chemical toilets
- Wash your hands with soap and water after defecating
- Clean the toilet and other areas that are contaminated with feces with 1:9 parts household bleach in water
- Never defecate in any body of water, as this can trigger the disease
If you’re camping in another country or your own, and don’t have access to a toilet:
- Defecate 30 meters away from the nearest water body
- Bury the faeces with sand once done
- Dig temporary pit toilets that are half a meter deep and located away from the water body
Keep Your Food Covered And Safe
Another important cholera prevention step is to cook your food well, so that there is no risk of catching an infection.
- Always boil food items (like vegetables) before cooking them, if possible
- Cook the foods well, especially shellfish like crabs and crayfishes, until the food is piping hot
- Keep the food covered once done, and serve it hot
- Peel fruits and vegetables before eating them, and avoid other raw food items
Clean Up The Washing Areas
This is another important cholera prevention step that you should take.
- Clean your kitchenware and the cooking area with soap and water
- Regularly clean the bathroom and washing area (laundry)
- Always wash and bathe 30 meters away from drinking water sources
In addition to the above mentioned cholera prevention strategy, there are preventive vaccine recommendations for the disease too. Two commercially available oral vaccines for cholera are Shanchol (for children under 5 years of age) and Dukoral. These vaccines provide protection against the disease for just two years. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends the use of cholera vaccines along with available preventive measures.