Health One Family Medicine

7 Most-Common Waterborne Diseases and Prevention

Water is a basic necessity for us. While it may be vital for us to live, it can become deadly if contaminated. This is why hundreds and millions of people each year are afflicted by waterborne diseases, especially in developing countries where there is limited access to safe, drinkable water.

The main symptom of waterborne diseases is diarrhea, which is the leading cause of death in children under the age of 5. Such diseases are evidently quite dangerous, but there is hope for the future if we take the necessary preventive measures.

Let’s take a look at the most common waterborne diseases and what you can do to prevent yourself from them.

Common Waterborne Diseases

1.     Typhoid Fever

This highly contagious disease is quite common in developing countries with a lack of sanitation and no access to clean food and water. Some symptoms of Typhoid include diarrhea, muscle aches, fatigue, diarrhea or constipation, and fever.

2.     Cholera

This is common in poverty-stricken areas where there is poor sanitation and no access to clean water. Cholera can be quite dangerous since it leads to increased diarrhea, which is life-threatening in some cases. It can be fatal within days or even hours of exposure to the bacteria depending on the condition.

3.     Giardia

This waterborne disease spreads through contaminated water and leads to nausea, cramps and bloating, weight gain, and abdominal pain. Though the symptoms of the disease subside in a few weeks, it is possible for individuals to experience intestinal problems for years.

4.     Dysentery

This is a disease that is spread through consuming unsafe food and water or coming in contact with fecal matter. Exposure to parasites and bacteria leads to diarrhea and blood or mucus in the stool. If an individual does not rehydrate themselves and engage in proper treatment, this disease can be life-threatening.

5.     E. Coli

This is a bacteria with various strains, some dangerous and others beneficial. If the dangerous strain of E. Coli exists in an individual, they will experience symptoms similar to other waterborne diseases. However, older people and young children are more at risk of developing life-threatening symptoms.

6.     Hepatitis A

This is a liver infection that is caused by the consumption of unsafe water and food or exposure to someone who has the infection. Though the infection goes away in a few weeks, it is possible that the disease stays for months or even years.

7.     Salmonella

Salmonella is caused by consuming food and water that contain fecal matter. It is generally not as dangerous, but it can be risky for children, older individuals, pregnant women, and those with a weakened immune system.

Tips on Prevention of Waterborne Diseases

Here are the precautions you should take in order to prevent yourself from the aforementioned waterborne diseases:

  • Drink filtered water that is free from sand and dirt
  • Use water purifying devices to ensure that the water is germ-free
  • Always wash hands with antiseptic liquid after using the toilet and before and after eating anything
  • Teach hand hygiene
  • Ensure food is thoroughly cooked
  • Take necessary vaccines for immunization against waterborne diseases such as Typhoid, hepatitis A, etc.

If you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms of these common waterborne diseases, don’t hesitate to reach out to Health One Family Medicine. It is very important to see a physician to ensure you get the necessary treatment and prevent life-threatening symptoms from developing.

Book an appointment with a physician at Health One Family Medicine today by visiting our website or calling (469)262-5762.

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