General Practice 2022

7 diseasesças caused by ácontaminated water

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7 diseasesças caused by ácontaminated water
7 diseasesças caused by ácontaminated water

Consumption of contaminated water can increase the risk of some diseases, such as leptospirosis, cholera, hepatitis A and giardiasis, for example, as the infectious agents responsible for these diseases can develop in water and spread more easily. Although it is easier for this to happen in polluted rivers and lakes, water from crystalline springs can also become contaminated by some type of bacteria, parasite or virus.

These diseases occur mainly when the water does not undergo cleaning and purification treatments that eliminate the microorganisms that contaminate the water, especially those responsible for causing diseases. Diseases caused by contaminated water are more frequent in children between 1 and 6 years old, pregnant women and the elderly, due to changes in the immune system, which can be considered a serious public he alth problem.

Thus, it is important to pay attention to the water used both for consumption and for cleaning and food preparation. If in doubt whether the water is suitable for use, you can use a sodium hypochlorite solution, for example.

Some of the major diseases that can be caused by contaminated standing water or untreated sewage water include:

1. Hepatitis A

Hepatitis A is a disease caused by the virus of the Picornavirus family and can be transmitted through contact with water contaminated by the virus. This disease is highly contagious characterized by inflammation of the liver and which, although generally mild, in some cases can progress to a severe form and be fatal if left untreated.

Main symptoms: Hepatitis A symptoms usually appear about 4 weeks after contamination by the virus, with the main indicators of hepatitis A being dark urine, pale stools, yellowing of the skin and mucous membranes, fever, chills, feeling of weakness, nausea, loss of appetite and fatigue.

How is the treatment: The treatment for hepatitis A aims to relieve the symptoms of the disease, and the use of analgesic and anti-inflammatory drugs may be indicated. In addition, the doctor should recommend rest and drinking plenty of fluids. Learn what to do to recover faster from hepatitis A.

2. Giardiasis

Giardiasis is an infection of the digestive tract caused by the parasite Giardia lamblia, which is transmitted through the consumption of food or water contaminated by faeces containing cysts of the parasite.

Main symptoms: The main symptoms indicative of giardiasis are abdominal pain, diarrhea, fever, nausea, weakness and weight loss.

How is the treatment: The treatment is done with drugs that fight the parasite, such as Metronidazole or Tinidazole, indicated by the doctor.Consumption of fluids throughout the day may also be recommended, and in case of severe dehydration due to diarrhea, hydration directly into the vein may be necessary.

3. Amoebiasis

Amoebiasis or amoebic dysentery is an infection caused by the protozoan Entamoeba histolytica, which settles in the intestine and prevents the absorption of important nutrients for the body. Transmission occurs through consumption of food or water contaminated by feces containing mature amoebic cysts.

Main symptoms: Usually, the main symptoms of amoebiasis are abdominal pain, diarrhea, fever and chills, in addition to bloody stools or mucus in some cases. In more severe cases, the disease can develop into an invasive form, in which other organs such as the liver, respiratory tract and even the brain are infected.

How is the treatment: In general, antiparasitic drugs such as Secnidazole, Metronidazole or Tinidazole are used to combat amebiasis, however the duration and dose is guided by the doctor according to with the severity of the infection.

4. Leptospirosis

Leptospirosis is a disease caused by a bacterium that can be present in the urine of sewer rats, or other infected animals such as dogs and cats, which enters the body through contact with the excrement of these animals or contaminated water. with injured skin or mucous membranes, such as eyes, nose.

Main symptoms: The main symptoms of leptospirosis are high fever, headache, body pain, loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea and chills. Know how to recognize other symptoms of leptospirosis.

How is the treatment: The treatment for leptospirosis should be guided by the doctor, being usually recommended the use of antibiotics to fight the bacteria and analgesics to relieve pain and fever.

5. Cholera

Cholera is an intestinal infection caused by the bacterium Vibrio cholerae that can contaminate water and food. The production of toxins by this bacterium is responsible for the appearance of symptoms, and it is important that the identification of this bacterium is done as soon as possible to avoid complications, such as severe dehydration.Learn more about cholera.

Main symptoms: Symptoms of cholera appear between 2 and 5 days after infection by the bacteria and there is mainly severe diarrhea and vomiting, which can lead to severe dehydration.

How is the treatment: The main objective of treatment for cholera is to prevent dehydration, so oral hydration is recommended and, in more severe cases, directly in the vein, and hospitalization and treatment with antibiotics may also be necessary.

6. Ascariasis (roundworm)

Ascariasis is a worm caused by the parasite Ascaris lumbricoides, also known as roundworm, which inhabits, develops and multiplies in the intestine. This disease is transmitted through ingestion of water or food contaminated with parasite eggs.

Main symptoms: The main symptoms of ascariasis are abdominal pain, nausea, difficulty in evacuating and loss of appetite.

How is the treatment: The treatment is done with the use of antiparasitic drugs indicated by the doctor, such as Albendazole, which must be done according to medical advice.

7. Typhoid fever

Typhoid fever is an infectious disease caused by the bacterium Salmonella typhi, and it is transmitted through consumption of water and food contaminated with the parasite.

Main symptoms: High fever, vomiting, stomachache, constipation, diarrhea, headache, loss of appetite, weight loss, or red spots on the skin can be indicative of typhoid fever. Here's how to identify symptoms.

How is the treatment: The treatment is done with the use of antibiotics, according to medical advice, rest and hydration are very important during the recovery phase. This is a preventable disease with the typhoid vaccine.

How to avoid diseases

To protect yourself and avoid diseases transmitted by contaminated water, you must avoid contact with sewage, untreated water, floods, mud or rivers with stagnant water, and the use of swimming pools not treated with chlorine.

To ensure your safety, it is advisable to always boil the water before using it, whether for washing or preparing food or for drinking, if it is not filtered. In addition, you can also choose to use sodium hypochlorite to disinfect and purify the water.

How to know if the water is contaminated

It can be suspected that the water is contaminated, and therefore unfit for consumption, when it has some characteristics such as:

  • Looks dirty, cloudy or muddy;
  • Has some smell;
  • Note small particles of dirt suspended in the water;
  • It is not properly transparent, having a yellowish, orange or brownish color.

In addition, water can also appear to be clean and still be contaminated, so it is always best to opt for filtered water or bottled mineral water, which has been subjected to quality tests.

How to purify drinking water

To turn contaminated water into drinking water, you must use a solution called sodium hypochlorite, which is purchased at pharmacies and supermarkets, but is also distributed by the government. Just add 2 to 4 drops of sodium hypochlorite for every 1 liter of water and wait 30 minutes to be able to consume this water. See more details about sodium hypochlorite.

Boiling the water for 1 minute also helps to purify the water, but it does not solve the problem and therefore does not exclude the use of hypochlorite. In addition, in case of contamination with mercury, the water should not be boiled because the mercury can pass into the air, increasing the risk of contamination.

These strategies are especially indicated to purify water that is contaminated with viruses, bacteria and fecal coliforms, which can happen in water from cisterns, artesian wells, small wells and in case of contamination with rainwater. However, in case of floods, the best strategy is not to use dirty and muddy water because the mud is more difficult to eliminate.

Water contaminated by mud can be used through a process called decanting, which normally happens in water treatment companies in cities. One coagulant that can be used to remove sludge from water is black wattle polymer, an organic product, which is not harmful to he alth. This substance can separate the water from the mud, but after this process, the water still needs to be properly treated.

Check out all the homemade methods to purify water at home.

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