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Waterborne Diseases and Internal and External Parasites | Health Education

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Waterborne diseases

- Waterborne diseases are caused by small organisms that live in contaminated water.
- Waterborne diseases include:
  1. Bilharzia
  2. Typhoid
  3. Cholera
  4. Dysentery
- Some of the common signs and symptoms of waterborne diseases are:
  1. Diarrhoea
  2. Vomiting
  3. Stomachache
  4. Rashes on the body
  5. Aches in joints and muscles

(a) Bilharzia

- Bilharzia is caused by small worms found in dirty water.
- Bilharzia worms enter the body through the skin and grow to mature worms.
- Bilharzia worms live in water snails.

Signs and Symptoms of Bilharzia

  1. General body weakness.
  2. Blood in the stool and urine.
  3. Itching at the bowel.

How to Prevent Bilharzia

  1. Draining stagnant water.
  2. Wearing gloves and gumboots while working or walking in water.
  3. Killing all the water snails.
  4. Proper sanitation.

(b) Typhoid

- Typhoid is caused by bacteria which live in contaminated water or food.

Signs and Symptoms of Typhoid

  1. Abdominal pain.
  2. Aches in muscles and joints.
  3. Fever.
  4. Loss of appetite.
  5. Slight and vomiting.

Prevention and Management of Typhoid

  1. Proper sanitation:
    • Washing hands after visiting the toilet.
    • Drinking boiled water.
    • Proper use of the toilet.
  2. If infected visit a doctor for treatment.
  3. Eating well cooked food.

(c) Cholera

- Cholera is caused by bacteria found in contaminated water and food.

Signs and Symptoms of Cholera

  1. Severe stomachache.
  2. Diarrhoea and vomiting that lead to excess loss of water in the body. This can lead to dehydration.

Prevention and Management of Cholera

  1. Drinking boiled water.
  2. Proper sanitation
  3. Eating well cooked food.
  4. Proper washing of foods eaten raw.

Dirty Water is a Source of Cholera
Dirty Water is a Source of Cholera - Courtesy of WHO

- Some ways of preventing waterborne diseases include:
  1. Giving infected people a lot of water or liquids.
  2. Visiting hospitals for treatment.

External Parasites

- Parasites that live on the bodies of animals are called external parasites.
- Examples of external parasites are:
  1. Flea
  2. Jiggers
  3. Mites
  4. Louse

Some Signs of External Parasites

- Scratching at the infected parts.
- Rashes on the skin.

Some Ways of Preventing External Parasites

- Avoid sharing clothes.
- Wearing shoes.
- Living in a clean environment.
- Keeping hair clean.
- Sprinkling water on dirty surfaces.

How to Manage External Parasite Infection

- Using shampoos to clean hair.
- Combing hair.
- Washing infected areas with treated water.

Internal Parasites

- These are parasites that live inside the body of a human being.
- Examples of internal parasites are:
  • Tapeworms
  • Hookworms
  • Pinworms
  • Roundworms

Ways of Preventing Internal Parasites

  1. Washing hands before eating or handling food.
  2. Eating well cooked food.
  3. Washing hands after visiting the toilet.
  4. Drinking boiled water.
  5. Keeping finger nails short.
  6. Using toilets and latrines to dispose off human waste.

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