What should I do if I think I may have cholera?
If you have diarrhoea, especially severe diarrhoea, in an area
where there is cholera, seek treatment immediately from a physician or other
trained health care provider. Begin drinking water and other non-sweetened
fluids, such as soup, on the way to getting medical treatment.
The most important treatment of cholera is called rehydration
and consists of prompt replacement of the water and salts lost through severe
diarrhoea and vomiting. Early rehydration can save the lives of nearly all
patients with cholera. Most patients can be rehydrated quickly and simply with a
solution of oral rehydration slats (ORS). Packets of these salts are available
from most city pharmacies and you should carry a supply with you when you
travel. Follow the instructions on the packet when making up the solution. The
solution is drunk in large quantities, sufficient to replace what has been lost
from diarrhoea and vomiting.
Patients who become severely dehydrated may need to receive
fluid intravenously. An effective antibiotic can also help to shorten the
illness in patients with severe cholera. Antidiarrhoeal medicines, such as
loperamide, are not recommended, and should never be