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Water Borne Diseases- How to Prevent and Protect?
[Dr Amitabh Khanna is a practicing senior consultant cardiologist and general physician at Dwarka, New Delhi. He is also President of Indian Medical Association (IMA), Dwarka. He can be contacted at 9312224549, 9810949594]


Observing a few simple precautions mentioned below can help us bring down the incidence of these diseases

Use drinking water from safe source only. Water from shallow wells, ponds, and hand pumps is not normally safe for drinking.

Wash hands with soap and water before and after eating food and also after going to toilet.

Avoid eating cut raw foods like fruits & salads from roadside.

Vegetables and fruits should be thoroughly washed in clean running water before consumption.

How to make water safe for drinking:-

During monsoon period it is advisable to take the following additional precautions to purify drinking water.

BOILING:-boiling for 20 mts will destroy all the germs.

FILTRATION: Ceramic filters, RO systems, Aqua guard etc are filtration systems which purify and provide safe drinking water.

In case no other means available we can add a tab of chlorine in 20 liters of water &leave for 30 mts.

Further, the following precautions should be taken while eating out

a) Uncooked foods like cut fruits, salads, curds or any other preparation which has water/ice added to it such as lassi , dahi and raita should be avoided .

b) Chaat, gol gappa etc should be avoided.

c) Fruit juices from roadside stalls should be avoided.

d) Cooked and hot foods like daal, sabzi etc can be taken safely.

What to do if start loose motions/ vomiting?

a) Take plenty of oral fluids like water, coconut water, juices, daal ka paani, nimbu pani etc.

b) Take ORS. ORS means oral rehydration solution. It contains sugar & important electrolytes and is used to treat dehydration. To prepare ORS mix one entire sachet of ORS in one liter of boiled &cooled water.

You can make ORS at home also by adding one fistful of sugar +3 pinches of salt+1 pinch of baking soda in one liter of water.

c) Consult your doctor if symptoms persist

To prevent DENGUE & MALARIA, -

Do not allow water to collect near your house in drains etc. Water should not be allowed to collect in spare tyres, buckets, pots etc usually found lying on the rooftops of offices and houses. Overhead water tanks should be properly covered; water used in water coolers should be changed every 4-5 days. Before refilling tank must be cleaned properly.

Periodic spraying of insecticides/larvicide should be undertaken in flats/ houses / stagnant water collections by societies/RWA.

Use wire mesh on windows / doors to prevent entry of mosquitoes inside the house.

Use of mosquito repellent cream. Coils, mats etc is helpful in warding off mosquitoes.

Use of full sleeves clothing is helpful as it reduces the area of exposure to the mosquito.

In case of fever with chills consult your doctor immediately.

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