Typhoid Fever Symptoms & Treatment

Typhoid Fever Symptoms & Treatment

Typhoid is more than regular fever; it is serious and can easily become fatal. Therefore, it ought to be dealt with as an emergency. Although it is more common in areas that have less access to clean water, it can spread to other areas as well via human carriers. If there’s a typhoid patient at home, others in the family too need to take special care. Feces and urine of the affected person contain the bacteria that cause typhoid and contamination can easily transmit the disease to all in the family or others in close contact.


    What is typhoid fever?

    The Salmonella typhi bacterium, responsible for causing typhoid, infects a person mainly via contaminated food and water. Once it enters a person’s body (the small intestine), the white blood cells transport it to the liver, bone marrow and also the spleen. These organs provide a favorable environment for the bacteria to grow and multiply. The incubation period of the salmonella typhi is about 1 -2 weeks. This is when the affected person starts noticing the initial symptoms such as high fever, fatigue, body aches, etc. If at this point appropriate treatment is given to the person, there are better chances of recovery. However, if it is delayed or misdiagnosed at this point, it can continue invading the other organs such as the gall bladder, the biliary system, and the intestinal tract. In serious cases where the bacteria stay undetected for long, organ damage can happen and a chronic infection like condition triggered.


    Typhoid causes

    The Salmonella Typhi bacteria cause typhoid. This disease mostly spreads via contaminated food and water that are in turn impacted due to poor sanitation in the specific areas where this is rampant. Also, carriers handling food can easily get infected and thereby put the consumers of that food also at high risk. Besides the active carriers, there are silent carriers too who may carry the bacteria in them for years without a noticeable symptom. This is riskier as unknowingly they can infect many others over the years and continue doing so till it is detected (if at all). They can infect via food handling, urine, feces (stool), etc.

    Others who may be at risk of contracting this disease include:

    • People whose work includes handling the Salmonella typhi bacteria (microbiologists, lab assistants, etc.)
    • People traveling to high-risk areas
    • Caretakers of people infected with this bacteria

    Certainly, people with low immunity need to apply caution too.


    Typhoid: signs and symptoms

    • Mild fever that can gradually get as high as 104 and above
    • Headache and muscle aches
    • Sweating and rose-colored rashes in the body
    • Fatigue
    • Swelling and pain in the abdomen
    • Diarrhea or constipation
    • Loss of appetite
    • Dry cough and chest congestion
    • General feeling of being very ill

    Although with proper care the signs may subside, many people also complain of a relapse in the signs even after the fever is completely gone and they are much better. Therefore, it is important that the affected person completes the entire medicine dose along with observing the diet plan for as long as it has been prescribed.


    Diagnosis and treatment of typhoid

    To diagnose the bacteria, doctors often recommend blood, urine and stool tests and culture tests of blood and body fluid. A culture test helps confirm the presence of the typhoid bacteria on which the treatment plan can be based.

    Treatment is mostly offered in the form of antibiotic medicines. The duration of the treatment will depend upon the condition of the patient and the extent of damage done. Although most patients are treated at home, in severe conditions, the patient may be suggested hospital stay. It is common for most people to completely recover within 3-4 weeks since the onset of the symptoms. However, in the case of a re-lapse, this can take longer.

    Antibiotic treatment and appropriate diet can help a patient recover fast. However, in case the bacteria cause chronic infection in the gall bladder, surgery to remove the infected organ may be suggested.

    Typhoid diet

    Appropriate diet is important to help a person recover from Typhoid. Therefore, whether it is you or a family member who’s suffering from this condition, ensure that the below are adhered to.

    • Typhoid can give rise to several gastrointestinal problems. Therefore, a simple and nutritious diet is recommended.
    • Avoid oily and fatty foods and prefer semi-solid or slightly-overcooked food items that can be easy to digest.
    • Rice, yogurt, coconut water, buttermilk, and homemade soups and broths are ideal foods to offer.
    • Steamed vegetables, bananas, watermelons, etc. can also be offered.
    • It is better to avoid high fiber foods and foods that can lead to bloating (cabbage, capsicum, etc.).
    • Small frequent meals are advised in place of heavy meals as this can be better to digest and supplement the nutritional loss too.
    • Once you’ve completely recovered, you can introduce lean meats, eggs, etc. in your diet.
    Prevent Typhoid

    Because it is mostly spread through contaminated food and water, preventing typhoid is simpler than other related diseases. You just have to be careful in order to avoid getting it.

    • Don’t drink tap water, especially in areas that are prone.
    • Drink only bottled water or boil and cool the water before consuming it.
    • Avoid street foods and fruits and vegetables that are previously cut, uncovered, or not washed properly.
    • Avoid using ice in drinks unless prepared at home.
    • Wash your hands regularly and especially before and after every meal.
    • Maintain personal hygiene and keep toilets clean.
    • Typhoid carriers should avoid handling food as the bacteria can easily be transmitted.

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