Cholera is a disease caused by germs leading to the passing of a lot of loose and watery stools. The person may also vomit a lot causing the victim to drop salts from the body.
When a person with cholera loses water and salts, he or she becomes very thirsty and cannot urinate. He or she turns to be weak and often complain of pains in the stomach, arms or legs.
This information is in a leaflet designed by the Health Promotion Department of the Ghana Health Service and produced and issued by the Greater Accra Regional Health Directorate this year.
The leaflet, made available to the Ghana News Agency in Accra, says cholera is spread by a person who is afflicted by the disease.
When the infected person vomits or goes to toilet he or she passes out large numbers of cholera germs. These germs spread to his or her hands, clothes, bedding, eating utensils and anything he or she may handle.
If these germs, even a small amount gets into the mouth of somebody, he or she will also fall sick.
This can happen if one fails to wash his or her hands after shaking the sick person’s hands; washing the sick person’s body, even when he or she is dead.
A person may also get cholera if he or she does not wash the hands
after using toilet facilities, before preparing food or eating.
The cholera germ can live outside the body, on food and in water.
One can get cholera if he or she eat’s fruits and vegetables that are not washed, eats cold cooked foods, which have been left uncovered, drink unboiled water in places where there is an outbreak of cholera.
To avoid cholera people must wash their hands with soap and under running water before eating, cooking or after visiting the toilet.
The public must boil their drinking water and keep it in clean covered containers, eat their food while it is hot and avoid cold foods such as ice cream and ice kenkey.
The leaflet advised people to wash their cups, plates and cutlery set such as forks, spoons and knives with soap and water regularly before use and wash all fruits and vegetables such as lettuce, tomatoes, carrots, onions and cabbages thoroughly in clean water before eating them.
The public must seek the advice of a health worker before preparing a dead body for burial especially if the person died from cholera.
To prevent cholera people must tell their families about the danger of the disease and how to avoid it, boil unsafe water from rivers, pond and dams, keep places near water bodies clear from refuse and avoid buying cooked food, which is cold or exposed to dust and flies.
People must ensure that food sellers cover their food against dust and flies, stop people from going to toilet on open grounds especially near water bodies.
There is also the need for households to build latrines such as KVIP and protect the facilities from flies.
The public must ask their District, Municipal and Metropolitan Assemblies to provide more public toilets with hand washing facilities in their communities.
When chamber pots are used, they must be emptied into a toilet or hole in the ground and should be covered quickly.
When cholera strikes the public should not panic and rather give plenty Oral Rehydration Salts (ORS) or any home made fluid such as rice water, fresh coconut water, fruit juices or water to the sick person.
There is the need for ORS to be kept at every home while the sick person should be taken to the nearest health facility immediately whilst on ORS, water or home made fluids.