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water borne diseases and how to prevent them

19 Jun 2020

Fresh water scarcity and contamination is one of the leading matters of concern in developing countries around the globe. When bio wastes like animal and human feces and insoluble impurities like lead and arsenic pollute the potable waters, they become unfit for consumption, and can lead to diarrheal diseases. Diarrhea is one of the primary symptoms of gastrointestinal diseases, where stool is passed from the human body with excessive water and fluids, or in extreme cases, with blood.

With the industrial sector on the boom since the last century, not even ground water sources can ensure a safe drinking water source for the children in the third world countries. Cases of water borne diseases in India are high due to the poor waste management systems employed in the municipal corporations, and high levels of fluoride and arsenic in the ground water. The list of water borne diseases goes along with names like typhoid, fever, dysentery, hepatitis A or E, polio among the many others.

When contaminated water is unknowingly employed is activities like bathing, washing, drinking, in the preparation of food, or the consumption of the infected food prepared, it causes and spreads such water borne diseases and infections. Since water pollution at the ground level affects more people than air and land pollution, along with preventive measures at individual level, proper waste management systems need to be installed by authorities, and they must ensure the general public of their very basic right of healthy water supply.

At the personal level, here are some methods you can employ to prevent and control water borne diseases;

  • Practice good habits like washing your hands with disinfectant soap before and after eating, and after carrying out dirty activities like gardening, playing and maintaining personal hygiene.
  • In case you don’t have access to proper disinfectants to use while bathing and washing hands, use of coal ash and ‘neem’ is also a popular remedy in backward areas.
  • Cook meat and dairy products properly before consumption to remove any allergens and pathogens it may contain. Wash fruits and vegetables properly, and peeloff muddy and underground vegetables well, like potatoes before cooking.
  • Do not drink untreated water from lakes and ponds, and especially avoid accidental drinking of such water during bathing and swimming.
  • Use water purifiers at home, taking in account the quality of water supplied in your locality. In case you come from a place without regular and good quality water supply, and cannot afford a high quality water filtration system, you can always resort to water distillation systems, where you collect the fresh water condensed from the vapor evaporated after boiling such contaminated water.
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