Cholera Treatment and Prevention in Children

Cholera Definition

Cholera can be fatal in a matter of hours for children if not treated immediately. This disease usually endemic in densely populated areas with bad sanitation. Treatment of cholera is cheap and simple. One of them with using ORS to treat dehydration from cholera. make sure to always provide ORS for Cholera treatment in case of sudden attack and doing prevention by always keeping personal  and food hygiene.

What is Cholera?
Cholera is a disease caused by bacteria usually spreading through contaminated water. This disease can cause severe dehydration from diarrhea.

Cholera Treatment and Prevention in children

Symptoms of Cholera

Not all cholera patients show symptoms of contamination, so they are not aware that they have been infected with Vibrio cholerae or cholera bacteria. From all cholera infected people, only 10 percent of them were asymptomatic. While not having symptoms, cholera sufferers can still infect others through water contaminated by cholera bacteria that spread through the feces for 1-2 weeks. Cholera that has showed symptoms for a few hours can result in dehydration in your children.

Severe Dehydration occurs when children loses more fluids than 10 percent of total body weight. Please also note that due to cholera diarrhea can cause rapid loss of body fluids, which is about 1 liter per hour, and appeared suddenly.

Children infected with cholera bacteria will feel nausea and vomiting for a few hours in the early stages of infection.

It is hard to differentiate diarrhea caused by cholera or other diseases, but usually diarrhea from cholera makes patients looking pale. There are several symptoms of dehydration from cholera as shown below.

  • Dry mouth
  • Arrhythmias or heart rhythm disturbances
  • Easy to get angry
  • Feeling very thirsty
  • Hypotension or low blood pressure
  • lethargy
  • Urine that came out just a little or even no at all.
  • Wrinkled and dry skin
  • Dehydration can cause an imbalance electrolyte levels or the loss of a large amount of minerals in the blood that is useful to maintain fluid balance in the body. Electrolyte imbalance can lead to oxygen and blood pressure dropped dramatically and muscle cramps.

Children infected with cholera bacteria are more susceptible to hypoglycemia or low blood sugar can cause seizures, loss of consciousness and even coma. See your doctor if you have symptoms of severe diarrhea and dehydration for proper medication.

Cause of Cholera in Children

The cause of cholera infection is bacteria called Vibrio cholerae. CTX or cholera bacteria produce toxins that potentially strong in the small intestine. The intestinal wall plastered CTX will interrupt the flow of sodium and chloride minerals until it causes the body to secrete large amounts of water (diarrhea) and resulted in a shortage of electrolytes and fluids.

There are two distinct life cycles in the cholera bacteria, which in the human body and the environment. Cholera bacteria in the human body is transmitted through feces containing the bacteria. Cholera bacteria can flourish if the supply of water and food contaminated with the feces. Besides the cholera bacteria can thrive in the human living environment.

Coastal waters that have tiny crustaceans called copepods is the natural place emergence of cholera bacteria. Certain types of plankton and algae is a food source for crustaceans and cholera bacteria will come with its host, namely crustaceans, follow the source of the food scattered around the world.
The sources of cholera infection can be food factors and exposure to water containing the bacteria.

The most common factors are as the following:

  • Eating shellfish without properly cooked, or other seafood that comes from a particular location.
  • The growth of cholera bacteria in cholera endemic areas through rice and millet could be contaminated after cooking and allowed to stand at room temperature for several hours.
  • Cholera bacteria can survive in the water for long periods of time and contaminate wells that are used in public area.
  • Cholera infection can be derived from vegetables and fruits raw unpeeled or not properly clean up . Agricultural land contaminated by fertilizers that are not good for irrigation or water containing garbage.
  • A densely populated neighborhood that does not have adequate sanitation.

In addition to several sources of cholera infection as mentioned above, there are also some factors that can increase the risk of contracting cholera bacteria. Risk of Children with cholera will increase if he stayed one home with people living with the disease.

There are also some groups of people, such as children, the elderly, and people who have low stomach acid levels will be more vulnerable to cholera. And according to research, people with blood type O have a risk of cholera two-fold greater than other blood types.

Complications of Cholera in Children

Loss of fluid and electrolytes in large quantities can be dangerous and fatal. Shock and severe dehydration is the most dangerous complication of cholera, but other than that there are several other health problems that could arise as a result of cholera, namely:

Hypokalemia or lack of potassium can cause cardiac and nerve dysfunction.
Kidney failure caused by the loss of the kidney's ability to filter, thus removing a large amount of fluid and electrolytes from the body. Shock often appears in patients with renal failure.

Hypoglycemia or low blood sugar may occur if the patient is too sick to eat. This situation can be dangerous because glucose is the main energy source of the body. Loss of consciousness, seizures, and even death could occur as a result of these complications, and children are more vulnerable.

Cholera treatment in Children

Diagnosis is done to tackle cholera and determine the proper treatment. The only way to confirm a diagnosis of cholera is by testing stool samples for the presence of bacteria. Now medics in remote areas can use the test to diagnose cholera faster and reduce fatal impact that could occur.

The most fatal cholera impact is deaths that can occur in a matter of hours. That is why patients need rapid and precise treatment.

Emergency response measures can be done are:

WHO Recommended that the cholera treatment is done through the administration of ORS or intravenous fluids, depending of the severity of cases. Up to 80% of patients can be treated adequately through the administration of ORS. (WHO: Cholera Treatment)
  • Giving rehydration salts to replace lost fluids and electrolytes. ORS is available in powder form that can be mixed with bottled water or water that is cooked until boiling.
  • Infusion for people suffering from severe dehydration.
  • Provision of zinc supplements to ease diarrhea in children with cholera.
  • Giving antibiotics to reduce the amount of bacteria, as well as shorten diarrhea caused by cholera.

Cholera prevention

To prevent cholera, you should always keep personal  and food hygiene. You can reduce the risk of contracting cholera by doing some of the following actions:

  • Avoid buying food from a vendor, and make sure to consume food that was really ripe and warm.
  • Avoid consuming raw seafood or are not thoroughly cooked, including sushi.
  • Be wary of dairy products, including raw milk and ice cream, because it is often contaminated with bacteria.
  • Wash hands with soap and water regularly, especially before eating and after using the toilet. Before washing with water, rub your hands with soap for at least 15 seconds. You can also use a hand sanitizer containing alcohol if there is no soap and water. 
  • Drink bottled mineral water or water that has been cooked until boiled. After the toothbrush, rinse with clean water. In general, drink bottles or a warm drink more secure. But before opening the beverage packaging, wipe the outside first.
  • Avoid eating salads and fruits that are not peeled, such as grapes. Choose vegetables and fruits that can be peeled itself, such as kiwi, bananas, and papayas.

Vaccinations can also be used to prevent infection of cholera bacteria, but usually only recommended for people or chidren traveling to the area cholera outbreak. This step is mainly given to people who are likely to have limited access to medical services, such as humanitarian aid workers.

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