Typhoid Fever: Symptoms, Causes, Treatment and Recovery

Typhoid is a fever caused by a particular type of bacteria known as Salmonella Typhi. People who become infected with this bacteria can spread this to others, especially people living with them. This happens when the infected person does not properly wash his hands after using the bathroom. That, in turn, enables the bacteria on the hands to contaminate everything that is touched. Thereafter, it spreads easily to the people living with him.

People living in places with poor sanitation are less prone to typhoid as compared to those who are visiting the place. Since the travellers are not used to the kind of sanitation at this place, they might catch the bacteria easily by having unhygienic food and beverages. Hence, the best way to avoid typhoid by such travellers includes washing hands properly and choosing the drinks and the foods wisely.

Other typhoid causes include spreading of the virus through sewage contamination of food and water and through person to person contact. If you were to consume a food item or drink that is contaminated with Salmonella Typhi or Salmonella Paratyphi, the bacteria can multiply and spread into the bloodstream, causing typhoid fever or paratyphoid fever.

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Symptoms of Typhoid Fever

Typhoid symptoms include having a fever that can go as high as 103–104°F (39–40°C). Stomach pain which seems to be very normal can be yet another symptom of you being affected by the bacteria. Constipation or diarrhoea can also be an indication of having typhoid. Other signs and symptoms of typhoid vary from headache, cough, loss of appetite and some people are seen developing a rash of flat, rose-coloured spots. However, the signs and symptoms might not develop very soon but rather after one to three weeks of becoming exposed to the disease. Generally speaking, these are the early symptoms of Typhoid. However, one might experience illness even at a later stage which includes being delirious, lying motionless and exhausted with eyes half closed in what is known as the typhoid state.

Treating Typhoid

If these symptoms are being experienced by a person for a sustained period of time, he/she must immediately consult a doctor. The most usual typhoid fever treatment suggested by any doctor includes keeping oneself hydrated by consuming boiled and purified water. The doctor will also recommend consuming fruits and vegetables only after washing them with fresh and clean water.

If you are travelling to any place which lacks sanitation facilities, getting vaccinated with the right antibiotics can help in the prevention of the disease. There are two kinds of vaccines namely pill vaccine and shot vaccine. Vaccine pills is suitable for ages 6 years or older. All four pills should be consumed one week before travel. Shot vaccine, on the other hand, is meant for 2 years old and older. One shot is recommended 2 weeks prior to travelling.

The typhoid fever diagnosis is confirmed by identifying Salmonella Typhi in the blood or in any other body fluid or tissue.

The commonly prescribed typhoid treatment medicines include Ciprofloxacin, Azithromycin (Zithromax) and Ceftriaxone. However, these drugs can cause side effects and long term use can lead to the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Furthermore, in recent years, Salmonella typhi has also proved resistant to trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole, ampicillin and ciprofloxacin.

Drinking fluids is the best treatment for typhoid at home. This helps in preventing dehydration that results from prolonged fever and diarrhoea.

The Right Time Of Treatment

The elderly getting affected by this virus should seek elderly health care services as immediate treatment and care is imperative in such scenarios. Typhoid fever in the elderly exhibits the same symptoms as any other age group. The prevention measures, however, but with a lot more care and supervision.

What’s important though is to seek immediate medical attention if any of the above symptoms is visible. If you have recently travelled to a particular area where there is a high risk of contaminating the bacteria and you develop the above symptoms, you should immediately consult a doctor before it is too late.

At Emoha, we are facilitating a wide range of elder care services and empowering our elders with a plethora of community engagement activities to build a sense of inclusive living and enhance their overall quality of life. It is a constant endeavour that inspires us. #EldersFirst