Water is the elixir of life. But according to World Health Organisation, nearly 1.8 million people die every year due to water-borne diseases. What are these diseases that we need to be careful about? The diseases range from gastritis, diarrhoea, jaundice, polio, amoebiasis, tapeworm infest ation, hydatid disease of liver, intestine, and lungs, worms to cholera, typhoid, and so on.
Vomiting, and loose motions, if persistent, lead to electrolyte imbalance and can even be fatal. Cholera is another waterborne disease which can lead to epidemics and large number of deaths. The causes of these diseases are unsafe water, lack of sanitation, and unhygienic practices. A very important cause of outbreak of waterborne diseases is due to damaged sewage lines and water supply, leading to contamination of water.
Some of the common symptoms of waterborne diseases are
- Abdominal cramps
- Loss of weight or fatigue
Prevention of these diseases depends upon the government’s actions like providing safe potable water, community awareness and actions at individual level. Some of the important preventive actions, one can take are:
- Take care of hygiene – like cutting nails.
- Wash hands regularly and properly: before cooking food and before eating, after using toilet, or changing diapers, using tissues or handkerchief after takin care of people with diarrhoea, changing clothes or beddings soiled with stools, etc.
- Clean water storing utensils.
- Ensure water is purified. If facilities are not available, the water should be boiled at the least.
- Children with symptoms of waterborne disease should not attend school till asymptomatic.
- People involved in cooking food or serving food should not use cloth to dry hands after washing as they are potential source of spreading infection.⊕