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10 diseases that are caused by water pollution and what you can do!

Apr 10, 2017

The onslaught of human activities has resulted in the rampant pollution of almost every type of fresh water source available to us. From small water bodies like ponds and lakes to the oceans of the world, water pollution is prevalent everywhere.

Currently, more than one-sixth of the country’s groundwater supply is overused, according to India’s official Ground Water Resources Assessment. Furthermore, 80% of the country’s surface water is polluted. These problems give rise to numerous waterborne diseases which if not treated properly and on time can prove to be fatal. One of the proven methods is to invest in a high-quality water purifier. It will help defend you and your family against harmful waterborne diseases.

Here are 10 common diseases caused by water pollution

1. Dysentery

Dysentery is a combination of nausea, abdominal cramps coupled with severe diarrhoea. In cases of acute dysentery, one may also experience a high fever and traces of blood in the faecal matter. There are two types of dysentery—Bacillary dysentery, caused by bacteria and Amoebic dysentery caused by amoebae. When either of these is ingested through contaminated water or food, one will develop dysentery within a gestation period of four days.

2. Arsenicosis

Arsenic is a poisonous substance often released as wastewater by industrial units situated on the banks of rivers. Arsenicosis or Arsenic Poisoning is caused due to chronic exposure to small amounts of arsenic through drinking water. This disease is characterised by painful skin lesions (keratosis), which can progress to cancer. It can also affect your lungs, kidneys, and bladder.

3. Polio (Infantile Paralysis)

Poliomyelitis is commonly known as polio.It’s an acute viral infection caused by a virus, which passes through water from the faeces of an infected individual. This disease affects the central nervous system. Once an individual contracts this virus, they suffer from fever, headache, and seizures, followed by paralysis.

4. Trachoma (Eye Infection)

This infection is caused by bacterium Chlamydia Trachomatis that’s found in contaminated water. Trachoma results in a coarsening of the inner surface of the eyelids. This leads to pain in the eyes, lesion on the outer surface or cornea, and eventual blindness. Trachoma spreads because of poor sanitation and hygiene conditions.

5. Typhoid fever

Across the world annually, around 12 million people are affected by Typhoid fever. This infection is caused by Salmonella Typhi bacteria. This disease is contracted by consuming contaminated food or water. The bacteria pass through the intestinal tract and can be identified in stool samples. Its symptoms include nausea, loss of appetite, and headache.

6. Schistosomiasis

This disease is caused by worms that are spread by freshwater snails living in polluted water. It’s very common in rural areas where people use local water bodies for bathing and recreational purposes. The worms in the water penetrate into one’s skin while in contact with the contaminated water, causing infections in the liver, lungs, intestines, and bladder.

7. Cholera

Cholera is an infection of the small intestine by the bacterium Vibrio Cholerae. This disease can kill within hours if not treated on time. Symptoms of cholera include diarrhoea and vomiting, as well as abdominal cramps and headache. According to the WHO, every year, there are 21,000 to 143,000 deaths worldwide due to this infection.

8. Diarrhoea

Diarrhoea is one of the most common diseases caused by water pollution. It is most often caused by water-borne viruses. But bacteria and parasites from water contaminated with faeces are also common causes. It results in passage of loose, watery stools that can cause dehydration and death to young children and infants.

9. Malaria

Water pollution has resulted in increased breeding of parasite-carrying mosquitoes. Malaria is a disease caused by parasites, which are spread by female mosquitoes called Anopheles. When mosquitoes bite a person infected with malaria, they can spread the infection to other people. This disease causes high fever, headache, and shivering. In severe cases, it can even lead to complications like severe anaemia, coma, and death.

10. Lead poisoning

Lead poisoning is caused due to consumption of water contaminated with lead, often coming from old pipes as well as surface water pollution. This disease is particularly harmful to children and can cause a number of health problems, including organ damage, nervous system disorders, anaemia, high blood pressure, kidney disease and problems with the reproductive system.

Prevention is better than cure! Here’s how you can steer clear from these diseases

People of all ages can be prone to the diseases mentioned above. However, you can keep these diseases at bay by practising proper hygiene. The simplest of all prevention measures is to consume pure drinking water. Also, it is of utmost importance that you wash your hands properly using soap, using clean toilets, bathing daily, and avoiding sharing of personal items. Preventive vaccinations must be administered for diseases like polio at the right time to eliminate the risk of contracting the disease.

Safeguard your home

You can also use mosquito nets and pesticides to inhibit mosquitoes from entering your home. Dangerous diseases like lead and arsenic poisoning can be prevented by changing your water pipes or treating your domestic water tank regularly.

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Pay more attention when you are outdoors

It also helps to avoid drinking or eating from unsafe sources. When you are on holiday, refrain from entering water bodies that are dirty. Diseases like malaria can be prevented by eliminating mosquito breeding grounds like water pooled in garbage cans and old tyres.

Remember, by using only safe and purified water, properly disposing sewage, and practising good hygiene, you can ensure your own health and well-being, as well as that of your loved ones.

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