A WATERBORNE disease is basically an illness you can catch through water - and not just drinking water, but sea water, water in kava, juice, through poor hygiene and even during unhygienic practices when preparing food.
According to the Health Ministry's National Centre for Wellness national adviser, Dr Isimeli Tukana, there are three types of waterborne diseases — one caused by drinking unhealthy water alternatives, another from poor hygiene and a third from still water.
"Drinks like kava, alcohol and carbonated drinks cause NCDs, fresh clean water is best for quenching thirst followed by fresh fruits like bu, watermelons, pineapples and oranges," Dr Tukana said yesterday.
"The second group of waterborne diseases includes typhoid and diarrhoea caused by poor hygiene and the third group includes dengue — still water causes mosquitoes to breed, which causes dengue."
The ministry's website provides some handy tips when it comes to removing breeding sources and reducing your chances of getting such diseases.
"Boil all drinking water, store drinking water safely in clean containers and within clean environments," the website advises.
"Wash hands with soap and water after doing household work, visiting the toilet, before and after eating and after touching pets. Cover food properly and keep it safe from flies and make sure your hands are clean before you handle food, while cooking and before eating."
Healthy alternatives to safe drinking water if you cannot gain access to any, include fresh juices made from fruits, or as Dr Tukana suggests — simply crack open some young coconuts. The flesh is also tasty and very nutritious.
There have been too many cases of dengue fever in the past month or so and a recent report from the Ministry of Health has revealed that more than 75 per cent of their 2014 budget allocated solely for dengue fever has already been eaten up.
Taking these precautionary steps could make all the difference between you becoming part of that statistic or you helping to reduce it.
WHAT TO DO
* Cover all food either with a clean cloth or in the fridge to prevent any contamination;
* Boil all drinking water before consumption and store it carefully in containers in clean environments;
* If you do not have clean safe drinking water, try to drink fresh coconut juice and quench your thirst with fruits;
* Try not to drink unhealthy alternatives such as kava, fizzy drinks and/ or alcohol; and
* Remove mosquito breeding sites around your house open cans and old tyres
Source: Ministry Of Health