By Dr Brunda MS, Consultant – Internal Medicine
Waterborne diseases are illnesses caused by microscopic organisms like viruses and bacteria that are ingested through contaminated water or by coming in contact with feces. Polluted or dirty water is very harmful to health. It causes many serious health problems if not treated at an early stage because of presence of different harmful bacteria and germs. These diseases can be cured with proper medications and treatment.
What are the risk factors?
Waterborne diseases have been an environmental concern and a major public health issue across the globe. It can lead to food poisoning. Some of the waterborne diseases include diarrhoea and meningitis. Unclean water can cause skin and infectious eye disease.
Signs and symptoms to watch out for
Abdomen Pain, loose stools, poor appetite, anaemia, are some of the common signs caused by waterborne diseases. Most common and major symptoms of waterborne disease are acute gastroenteritis, dysentery, diarrhoea, vomiting, nausea, stomach cramps, skin and ENT relates problems and cough.
Awareness & health recommendations
Awareness on personal hygiene and cleanliness is the key to avoid waterborne diseases. Awareness on drinking clean and filtered water, improving the quality of drinking water by using purifiers, ensure germ-free stored water are all the most preferred precautions to be taken. Washing hands and feet after returning home, ensuring clean surroundings and ensuring no water clogging around homes, which can become breeding grounds for mosquitoes and ensuring hygienic sanitation will be basic precautions. Drinking boiling water will be always safe.
Prevention is better than cure. How to stay protected
Staying hygienic and healthy to avoid waterborne disease is a challenge. Especially during monsoons and in the current scenario where the city is being flooded with contaminated water, there could be water logging in and around our residential areas. We need to ensure we stay at home and not explore outside. This could lead to a lot of diseases like Malaria, dysentery, skin diseases, allergy, ENT related issues due to air and water pollution and breeding home for mosquitoes and insects which could cause and spread disease.