Knowing about typhoid fever treatment can help you save a life. Typhoid sometimes can be fatal if not diagnosed early and well treated. It is caused by a bacteria known as Salmonella enterica serotype Typhi. There are different signs and symptoms of this disease, there are also measures one can take to protect themselves from contracting typhoid.
Today, people have learned the benefits of drinking clean water and washing hands before eating among other small hygiene practices. In this article, we look at the signs and symptoms of typhoid fever, it's diagnosis and typhoid fever treatment.
What are the causes of typhoid fever?
Typhoid is caused by a bacteria called Salmonella enterica serotype Typhi bacteria. These bacteria can be deposited in water or food by a person infected by typhoid. When another person consumes such food or drinks the water, they get the disease. Any person can get typhoid fever regardless of their age. Over the years, the prevalence of this disease has reduced. This is because of the awareness that has been made regarding environmental sanitation.
A person can get the disease by drinking contaminated water or eating contaminated food. What happens is that, a person who has acute typhoid fever can contaminate water through their stool. This is the reason why places that have poor sewage systems are more likely to be exposed to this disease. When water is contaminated, the food supply chain is also interfered with. This is because people will use the same water in their households to cook.
The worst part is that the bacteria that cause typhoid can stay in water or dry sewage for several weeks. This means that if it rains and the sewage gets into the water sources, people are subjected to this acute illness. Also, quite a number of people who have suffered this disease become carriers. Some people can carry the bacteria for a long time without any symptoms. In future, they are likely to cause an outbreak of this illness. This is the reason why sanitation is very important.
Once you ingest water or food that is contaminated, the bacteria goes to the blood stream through the small intestines. They then come into contact with the white blood cells which enable them to multiply in the liver, bone marrow and the spleen. Next the bacteria infest the gall bladder and the bowels whereby they multiply and get back into the intestinal tract. By the time it reaches this point, you will have already experienced high fever.
Signs and symptoms of typhoid fever
If a person is not a long-term carrier of typhoid, the symptoms can show in two weeks time from the moment they were infected. This disease can last up to four weeks. The good news is that it can be treated and person can be cured of it completely. Below are the signs and symptoms of typhoid.
- High fever: This is among the main sign that you have typhoid. The fever can even go up to 104 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Stomach pain
- Reduced appetite
- Chest congestion
Treatment of typhoid
Typhoid fever treatment mainly entails the intake of antibiotics. A person needs to seek treatment early enough. In the past, many people died from typhoid due to the complications. Today however, the use of antibiotics has reduced the fatality rate by up to 2%. When diagnosing typhoid fever, doctors usually require stool, urine or blood sample.
Several antibiotics can be used to treat this acute illness. In the past Chloramphenicol was the main drug used. Today however, there are others that have been manufactured to replace it. Other antibiotics used today include azithromycin, ceftriaxone, and fluoroquinolone.
Antibiotics have shown to be really useful in typhoid treatment. When you take them, your condition can improve in two days. You can get full recovery within 1 week to 10 days.
Note that the type of antibiotic administered by your doctor depends on the place where you contracted the bacteria. There are certain strains from specific regions that are resistant to specific drugs. If there are relapses, the doctor will authorize the use of antibiotics. There are also people who have chronic typhoid. These ones are usually given prolonged antibiotics. If the complications are severe, the gall bladder can be removed.
While taking the medications, you are supposed to strictly follow the instructions of the doctor. Finish the dosage even if you feel that you are well after some few days. After full recovery, you can go for a stool culture to determine if the bacteria are still in your body.
Risk factors of typhoid
Typhoid threatens the lives of many people around the globe. Parts of Africa, South America, India, and South East Asia are some of the areas that are prone to typhoid. Children are more prone to this disease.
If you come from a region where typhoid is not prevalent, you can suffer from it if you fit in any of the categories below;
- You travel a lot to places with high prevalence of typhoid
- You handle the Salmonella bacteria as a clinical microbiologist
- You come into contact with a person who has or has suffered from typhoid fever recently
- You come from a place with poor sewerage disposal system
Typhoid fever prevention
A good thing about this disease is that it cannot only be diagnosed and treated but it can also be prevented. Prevention mainly comes in when you embrace hygiene and high standards of sanitation. Here are some ways that typhoid fever can be prevented.
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1. Vaccination for typhoid prevention
There are vaccines that people can be injected to prevent this disease. There are two types of vaccines and they are 50 to 80 percent effective.
The first type of vaccine is the inactivated typhoid vaccine. This vaccine can only be given to people who are two years and older. Also, it is given once and it takes up-to two weeks to become effective. It is recommended that people take it after every two years.
The second vaccine for typhoid is the live typhoid vaccine. This vaccine can only be used by people who are six years and older. Unlike the inactivated typhoid vaccine, this one is usually given in four doses. After the first dose, you take the other one after two days. It is given orally and takes one week to work. It is recommended that people take this vaccine after five years to boost their immunity against typhoid fever.
A disease that has a vaccination can be prevented. The vaccinations for typhoid are especially important to travelers who move from one region to another. Remember that vaccines have minor effects but the doctor will make everything clear to you.
2. Washing hands
This might seem like a very small thing to do when preventing typhoid. However, it is the little hygienic practices that matter most in the prevention of typhoid fever. To control infection, ensure to wash your hands in soapy water, preferably warm. Do this after visiting the toilet or before eating. Remember, you could great a person who is infected with the salmonella bacteria. It is also safe to carry hand sanitizers. They will come in handy just in case there is no water around.
3. Do not drink untreated water
This is a very important typhoid prevention tip especially for people who come in areas that have poor sewerage systems. Remember, the bacteria that causes typhoid can be left in dried sewage for quite a long time. If it rains, the sewage can be taken to water sources, thus contaminating the water with the bacteria. Always ensure that the water you are drinking is treated
4. Avoid raw vegetables
Raw produce can be washed in contaminated water and you might not realize that. If you are not sure about the hygiene standards of a place, do not order for raw foods such as lettuce. Also, ensure that you wash fruits thoroughly. Fruits that you can peel are less likely to cause infections than those which you cannot peel. Eating raw or uncooked meat is also not healthy. Ensure that all the food you eat is thoroughly cooked.
5. Practice high levels of hygiene
Observing hygienic standards all the time will also help you from getting typhoid. Also, live in an area where the environment is clean. If there are sewerage problems, it could be wise to vacate especially if you have small children. Make the observance of hygienic standards a routine in your home.
The information in this article is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. All content including text, graphics, images, and information contained on or available through this page is for general information purposes only.