Armed With Information: Typhoid Fever and 8 Things You Should Know About the Disease

   Written by: Free Clinic Directory | Published On: July 24, 2017

Typhoid fever is a disease caused by a bacterium called Salmonella typhi. It is contagious and can be fatal if not given a proper medical attention. If one member of your family has the disease, the other members of the family will catch the disease in no time.

Apparently, typhoid fever has affected many people, especially in non-industrialized countries where clean food and water is highly not accessible. It is prevalent in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and some parts of Eastern Europe. To have a better understanding of the disease, here are 10 things you should know about typhoid fever.

The bacteria can get into your body through consumption of contaminated food, fruits, and water.

Aside from that, you can also catch the disease if you do not wash your hands after visiting the toilet, shaking hands, or treating patients with typhoid fever (if you are a doctor).

Children in boarding schools have a 70% chance of getting typhoid fever, especially schools located in underdeveloped countries. This is because most of these schools are situated in unsanitary places like near slums areas.

In some cases, people living in rural areas use rivers as their source of water, which puts them at risk of getting typhoid fever. It’s because some people bath in the river, while others urinate and defecate near or in the running water. It is more likely that the bacteria enter the body when you use the dirty water to wash your hands, vegetables, fruits, and utensils you use for cooking and eating.

Signs And Symptoms Of Typhoid Fever

In most cases, the symptoms appear 1 to 3 weeks after exposure. However, there are instances when they appear as early as 3 days or up to 3 months. It all depends on the number of bacteria you have ingested.

Once the bacteria have found a way into your body, it starts multiplying and spreading from your intestines and into your blood vessels. The first symptom that many people experience is stomachache. Then, the following symptoms surface:

  • High fever and moodiness.
  • You have severe diarrhea followed by a headache.
  • There is a loss of appetite which leaves you feeling weak and dehydrated.
  • Your muscles feel tight and your joints literally break so you can’t feel your legs and hands when lifting things and walking.

You sleep a lot, even standing is too much work for you, and you start feeling like your life is over. At this point, the bacteria will have fed from your intestines, leaving small holes that lead to perforated intestines. You may also start noticing blood in your stool, indicating that the condition has worsened.

The Right Time To Visit Your Doctor

You may have tried some OTC medicines to relieve your stomach pains because you initially thought it was just a minor thing. However, you should visit the doctor immediately if you have excruciating aches in your stomach. It is best to seek medical help right away before the condition is no longer treatable.

How Typhoid Is Detected

As soon as you visit the doctor, you will be asked about any symptoms you have noticed. Possibly, your doctor will ask where you have traveled to. You will ask to provide samples of your blood and stool. If you have typhoid, the bacteria will be visible in those specimen.

Treatment Of Typhoid Fever

The doctor will prescribe antibiotics and electrolytes to replace the nutrients you have lost. For those with perforated intestines, surgery will be done to repair the damaged intestines. You will also be given anti-diarrhoeal to stop diarrhea.

Who Is Most Likely To Get The Disease?

Anyone can get it. Most adults think that children are at higher risk of getting typhoid fever. But once adults acquire the infectious disease, it is a worse case than in children. Children have gone through previous episodes of vaccinations and so the disease might not put them down to their knees as compared to adults.

Preventive Measures

  • Once you have been treated, you should make sure to complete your full dose of the medicines prescribed to you by your doctor.
  • Wash your hands after visiting the toilet, shaking hands and treating patients. Make sure to use a medicated soap.
  • Wash your fruits and vegetables with warm water.
  • Those living in rural areas should get the water treated and stored in clean storage facilities.
  • Boil water before drinking it. This means that after boiling, the water should be left to cool and is then fit for drinking.
  • You should take vaccines before traveling to countries or areas that have had a recent typhoid outbreak. People who are traveling, especially to underdeveloped countries, need the typhoid vaccination, which has an average price of $85 to $300.
  • Hotels should be approved by the ministry of health that it is hygienic and fit for providing food to its customers.

Can Animals Get Typhoid Fever Too?

No, animals can’t get typhoid fever because the disease that can infect humans only. Although there are cases of typhoid fever in dogs, puppies are more vulnerable to typhoid and can even die. Once infected with the Salmonella typhi, dogs show similar symptoms like humans. What you can do is take your dog to a veterinarian for treatment. You should be careful in handling an infected dog because you are likely to get the disease from your pet as well.

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