5 Crucial Ways to Protect Yourself and Family from Cholera

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With the current cholera outbreak in Nigeria, it is more important than ever to take proactive measures to protect yourself and your loved ones from this potentially deadly disease.

Cholera, an acute diarrheal illness caused by the bacterium Vibrio cholerae, poses significant health risks, particularly in areas with poor sanitation and limited access to clean water. Here are five crucial ways to safeguard yourself against cholera:

1. Access and Use Safe Drinking Water

One of the most effective ways to protect yourself from cholera is to ensure that your drinking water is safe. Contaminated water is a primary source of cholera infection. Here are methods to secure safe drinking water:

  • Boil Water: Boil water for at least one minute to kill any bacteria, including Vibrio cholerae. This is one of the most reliable methods to ensure water safety.
  • Water Purification Tablets: Use water purification tablets or drops to disinfect water. These are easy to use and effective in killing harmful pathogens.
  • Filtration Systems: Utilize water filters designed to remove bacteria and other pathogens. These can be particularly useful in areas where water quality is uncertain.
  • Store Water Safely: Keep water in clean, covered containers to prevent contamination. Use clean utensils or taps to draw water from storage containers.

2. Maintain Good Personal Hygiene

Good personal hygiene practices are essential to prevent cholera transmission. Key hygiene practices include:

  • Handwashing: Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and clean water, especially before eating, preparing food, and after using the toilet. Proper handwashing can significantly reduce the risk of infection.
  • Use Sanitizers: When soap and water are not available, use alcohol-based hand sanitizers to clean your hands.
  • Avoid Touching Your Face: Refrain from touching your face, especially your mouth, nose, and eyes, with unwashed hands to reduce the risk of transferring bacteria.

3. Practice Food Safety

Cholera can spread through contaminated food, making food safety practices crucial:

  • Cook Food Thoroughly: Ensure that all food, especially seafood, is cooked thoroughly to kill any potential bacteria. Avoid eating raw or undercooked seafood.
  • Eat Freshly Prepared Food: Consume food that is freshly prepared and still hot. Avoid eating food from street vendors or places where hygiene practices are questionable.
  • Wash Produce: Clean fruits and vegetables with safe water before eating. Peeling fruits can also help reduce the risk of contamination.

4. Improve Sanitation Practices

Proper sanitation practices are vital in preventing the spread of cholera:

  • Use Toilets or Latrines: Always use toilets or latrines for defecation. Avoid open defecation, as it can contaminate water sources and spread cholera.
  • Proper Waste Disposal: Dispose of waste properly, ensuring it does not come into contact with drinking water sources. This includes disposing of human waste, garbage, and wastewater safely.
  • Clean Sanitation Facilities: Keep toilets and latrines clean and well-maintained to prevent the spread of bacteria.

5. Get Vaccinated

Vaccination is an important preventive measure against cholera, especially for those living in or traveling to high-risk areas:

  • Oral Cholera Vaccines (OCVs): OCVs provide temporary protection against cholera and are recommended for individuals in endemic regions or those traveling to such areas. The vaccine is taken orally, usually in two doses.
  • Mass Vaccination Campaigns: Participate in mass vaccination campaigns if they are available in your community. These campaigns help reduce the incidence of cholera and protect vulnerable populations.


Protecting yourself from cholera involves a combination of safe water practices, good personal hygiene, food safety, proper sanitation, and vaccination. By adopting these measures, you can significantly reduce your risk of contracting cholera and contribute to the broader effort to control its spread.

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