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Symptoms, Treatment, and Prevention of Common Waterborne Diseases

Symptoms, Treatment, and Prevention of Common Waterborne Diseases

Water is nature’s primary propelling factor. There is no life without water since pure water serves as the body’s primary form of healing. Water offers several advantages, which is why keeping water hygienic for all should be everyone’s top concern. Water is essential and valuable for living, yet if contaminated, it can cause and spread illnesses such as water-borne infections.

Waterborne Diseases

Consumption of contaminated water or food after touching the infected person or the bacterium itself can result in infection, resulting in water-borne illnesses. Consumption of polluted water or contact with faeces can result in diseases caused by microscopic organisms such as viruses and bacteria. These illnesses would not exist if everyone had access to clean water, adequate sanitation, and good hygiene practices. In the past 25 years, governments, NGOs, and local communities have achieved significant progress in the fight against waterborne illnesses.

Here are the most common waterborne diseases along with symptoms, course of treatment and prevention tips for the same.

1. Typhoid

Typhoid fever is an illness that spreads through contaminated food and unsanitary water. People who live in locations with poor sanitation are more likely to get typhoid fever. Though uncommon in affluent nations, Typhoid is well-known in very underdeveloped regions of developing countries; it is believed that up to 20 million individuals globally get the infection each year. It is extremely infectious and spreads through contaminated food, unclean water, and subpar hygiene. One can prevent the infection from spreading with proper vaccinations and by taking necessary measures.


  1. High temperature with muscle pain and weakness
  2. Vomiting or nausea
  3. Loose motions
  4. Constant fatigue


The treatment usually involves fluids and antibiotics prescribed by a medical practitioner.


People who reside or travel in areas with inadequate sanitation and unhygienic drinking water are advised to get vaccinations as soon as possible to prevent the infection. Avoid consuming tap water in such locations and always opt for bottled water instead.

2. Cholera

A bacterial illness called cholera is frequently observed in rural communities with insufficient sanitation. Cholera is a water-borne disease that can be lethal if not treated promptly. Humanitarian crises or remote settlements with a high prevalence of poverty and bad sanitation are frequent locations for cholera outbreaks. The illness, which causes severe diarrhoea and dehydration, is spread via polluted waters. Cholera can be lethal within days or even hours after exposure to the bacteria, although only one in ten persons will develop life-threatening symptoms.


  1. Diarrhoea leading to dehydration
  2. Severe muscle cramps
  3. Vomiting and nausea


The course of treatment for cholera includes rehydrating the body with IVF fluids and antibiotics as prescribed by a health professional.


Any water-borne disease, including cholera, may be avoided by washing your hands thoroughly and frequently. Ensure that food is well cooked before eating and wash vegetables in clean water before cooking them. Cholera may affect a whole community if handwashing facilities are not accessible. According to research, 40% of households in impoverished nations like Ethiopia lack the resources necessary to properly wash their hands, including safe water, soap, and a washroom. For these communities, maintaining good cleanliness and preventing the disease is practically unattainable.

3. Giardia

Giardia, commonly known as beaver fever, is a digestive ailment brought on by the giardia parasite. It is a different kind of water-borne illness that spreads through contaminated food and water. Giardia can spread from human to human as well. The infection clears the system after a few weeks but can harm the intestines for years. This waterborne illness spreads through polluted water, most commonly in ponds and streams, but it can also be found in a town’s water supply, swimming pools, and other places.


  1. Constant abdominal pain and cramps
  2. Bloating and nausea
  3. Diarrhoea
  4. Weight loss


Giardia is treated with antibiotics and anti-parasite medications, same as other water-borne illnesses.


Giardia does not have a vaccine, but there are easy measures to prevent the illness. Avoid consuming water while swimming, wash your hands frequently, and only consume bottled water. Giardia is normally defeated over time by the immune system on its own. But if your symptoms get worse, see a doctor right away.

4. Dysentery

Intestinal inflammation and bloody diarrhoea are two symptoms of dysentery. Shigella bacteria (shigellosis) or an amoeba are the two types of bacteria that cause dysentery. It spreads from compromised food and water. Considering poor hygiene is the major cause that dysentery is transmitted, it is a good idea to wash your hands after using the restroom. It can be brought on by bacteria, viruses, or parasites in contaminated food or drink as well as through direct contact with human excreta. Dysentery patients’ lives can be in danger if they cannot restore lost fluids effectively .


  1. Abdominal pain with cramps
  2. Bloody diarrhoea leading to severe dehydration
  3. Vomiting and nausea
  4. Fever


Dysentery can be treated with increased fluid intake, rehydration solutions, IV fluids, and antibiotics. Mild dysentery often disappears with rest and hydration, and over-the-counter pain relievers can help with stomach cramps. If the condition persist, visit a physician immediately.


Washing your hands often with soap for at least 60 seconds is vital to preventing dysentery and other water-borne infections. Additionally, try to curtail your consumption of outside food and increase your fruit intake. When visiting regions with a higher risk of dysentery, such as regions where basic hygiene standards are uncommon, only drink sealed, bottled water.

5. Hepatitis A

Hepatitis A is a liver illness brought on by ingesting contaminated food or water or by being in close proximity to an infected person. The disease is most commonly contracted by those who frequently travel to underdeveloped nations or work in remote regions with subpar sanitation and hygiene practices. Though the illness often resolves in a few weeks, it is possible for it to worsen and persist for several months.


  1. Jaundice with sudden fever
  2. Abdominal pain and fatigue
  3. Irregular bowel movement
  4. Loss of appetite resulting in weight loss


Though the infection usually goes away within a few weeks, the time frame might change depending on the individual instance and the infection’s intensity. It is advised to take additional precautions and rest until you have fully recovered since hepatitis A can cause your body to feel weak and exhausted for days or even weeks.


Getting the vaccination is the most effective method of preventing hepatitis A. Eat nothing at room temperature and only items that have been fully cooked and served hot. Eat only fruit that you can peel yourself. Avoid eating from street sellers, runny eggs, and raw or rare meat.

After contracting hepatitis A, a person develops an immunity and is likely to never get it again. The symptoms, however, are severe and frequently necessitate taking time off of work or school for recovery. If you have hepatitis A, stay hydrated, avoid drinking alcohol, and get plenty of rest. After three months, a complete recovery is anticipated since the sickness will have run its course.

To Conclude…

It’s possible for waterborne infections to have long-lasting negative effects on the body-effects that may last for years rather than just a few days or weeks. Additionally, it might weaken your immunity and intestines, making it very difficult to maintain normal function. To live a healthy life, it is essential to receive all necessary vaccines, according to the advice of your doctor.

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