Tips to Prevent Water-Borne Diseases

Tips to Prevent Water-Borne Diseases
December 21 08:46 2020 by admin Print This Article

Waterborne diseases are caused by micro-organisms that make their way into our body when contaminated water or food is consumed. They are the leading cause of diarrhoea and complications arising out of this, in third world countries. Diarrhoea is a condition in which watery faeces is discharged frequently and sometimes it contains blood or mucous.

Natural calamities like earthquakes, floods, and cyclones cause changes in pathogenic patterns which bring newer strains of microbes and trigger these diseases. Also, poor maintenance of municipal water lines can lead to contamination of drinking water from raw sewage. Finally, these diseases can spread from water or food contaminated by animal waste.


Water-borne diseases are caused primarily by :

The presence of an infective agent

  • Virus: Viral hepatitis A, Hepatitis E, Poliomyelitis, Rotavirus diarrhoea in infants
  • Bacteria: Typhoid fever, Paratyphoid fever, Bacillary dysentery, E. Coli. Diarrhoea and Cholera
  • Protozoans: Amoebiasis, Giardiasis
  • Helminthic: Roundworm, Threadworm, and Hydatid disease.
  • Leptospiral: Weil’s disease

The presence of an aquatic host

  • Snail: Schistosomiasis
  • Cyclops: Guinea-worm disease and fish-tape-worm disease

Types, Symptoms, and Treatment

  • Typhoid Fever: Spread through contaminated water, contaminated food, poor public sanitation, and poor personal hygiene. Symptoms include a fever that develops steadily, aching muscles, tiredness, low-energy, sweating, diarrhoea, and constipation. Treatment includes a vaccine shot and anti-biotic medication.
  • Cholera: Spread through contaminated water. Symptoms include diarrhoea, muscle cramps, nausea, and vomiting. Treatment includes oral or intravenous hydration and antibiotics in severe cases.
  • Giardia: Spread by consuming contaminated water from ponds or rivers, a municipal water supply that is contaminated, and from swimming pools that are not regularly disinfected. Symptoms include diarrhoea, abdominal pain, abdominal cramps, bloating of the stomach, nausea, and weight-loss. Treatment includes anti-parasitic and antibiotic
  • Dysentery: Spread, when water or food contaminated by faecal matter, is consumed. Symptoms include diarrhoea, nausea or vomiting, dehydration, blood in the stools, stomach cramps, and abdominal pain. Treatment includes antibiotic
  • E-coli infection: Spread when food or water that is contaminated with animal waste, a breeding ground for Escherichia coli bacteria, is consumed. Symptoms include diarrhoea, stools in the blood, vomiting, severe abdominal cramps, confusion, fever, seizures, and kidney failure in severe cases. Treatment includes oral rehydration and anti-biotic medication.
  • Hepatitis A: Affects the liver primarily, and is spread from contaminated food or water. Symptoms include nausea and vomiting, fatigue, clay-coloured stools, sudden fever, jaundice, abdominal pain, and loss of appetite. Treatment includes oral medication, frequent consumption of fluids for rehydration, and abstaining from alcohol.
  • Salmonella infection: Spread by consuming food that is contaminated with faeces. Symptoms include diarrhoea, blood in stools, headache, and chills. Treatment includes consuming plenty of fluids and electrolytes for rehydration, antibiotics, and in severe cases- hospitalization.

For emergency call 044 4000 6000

Schedule an appointment


The best part about water-borne diseases, as any gastroenterologist or gastrointestinal surgeon will tell you, is that they are completely preventable. By exercising care and caution, you can safeguard yourself and your family from the consequences of these diseases. Here are some tips. For more information, contact a gastroenterologist at a reputed hospital.


  • If you do not have access to safe drinking water, please install a water purifier at home. If this is not possible, boil the water used for drinking and cooking.
  • Keep the house in general and the toilets clean. Flush properly and use disinfectants regularly.
  • At a personal level, one must follow sanitary hygiene with discipline. Wash your hands with soap after using the toilet and before touching any food items.
  • Educate friends and family on the dangers of water-borne diseases.
  • Infants should be exclusively breastfed for the first six months of life to prevent diarrhoea in them.
  • Parents and caretakers of children should wash their hands with soap after changing diapers and as often as possible in a day.
  • Caretakers of elders with incontinence issues should wash their hands with soap as often as possible in a day.
  • If water stays stagnant near your house after rains, contact your municipal authorities to rectify the problem.
  • Avoid eating street food whenever there is an outbreak of cholera, typhoid, dysentery or diarrhoea.
  • Vegetables and fruits must be washed with a dilute vinegar solution at home and refrigerated before cooking.
  • Purchase meat from hygienically maintained stalls and refrigerate them after bringing home. Do not consume items made of raw meat (example – sushi).
  • While eating street food, consume items that are hot or heated and avoid those at ambient temperature. Also, such hot items should not be kept outside, open to the air. They must be covered always or prepared in front of you.
  • If you suspect that your municipal water supply is contaminated (water is dirty or coloured), report to the authorities immediately.

    Kauvery Hospital is globally known for its multidisciplinary services at all its Centers of Excellence, and for its comprehensive, Avant-Grade technology, especially in diagnostics and remedial care in heart diseases, transplantation, vascular and neurosciences medicine. Located in the heart of Trichy (Tennur, Royal Road and Alexandria Road (Cantonment), Chennai, Hosur, Salem, Tirunelveli and Bengaluru, the hospital also renders adult and pediatric trauma care.

    Chennai – 044 4000 6000 • Trichy – Cantonment – 0431 4077777 • Trichy – Heartcity – 0431 4003500 • Trichy – Tennur – 0431 4022555 • Hosur – 04344 272727 • Salem – 0427 2677777 • Tirunelveli – 0462 4006000 • Bengaluru – 080 6801 6801

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1 Comment

  1. Nagarjuna
    March 24, 21:23 #1 Nagarjuna

    Such a good blog. Thank you for the info.

    Reply to this comment

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