Protect Yourself from Typhoid Fever this Rainy Season!
06-07-2017 | Posted By: Chhavi | 694 View(s)
With the onset of monsoon, people start making plans to enjoy and have fun in rain and cool weather. However, along with fun and excitement, monsoon also comes with a host of diseases and infections about which people should know so that they can take preventive measures for it. One of the most common illnesses with which people deal during the rainy season is Typhoid fever.
What is Typhoid Fever?
Typhoid fever is an acute illness which is caused by the bacteria called Salmonella typhimurium. Another bacterium known as Salmonella paratyphoid causes Typhoid which is less severe. The bacteria gets deposited in water or food by a human carrier and are then spread to other people. It is spread through contaminated water and food or through close contact with a person who is infected.
The bacteria, Salmonella Typhimurium, enters the body first through the mouth and stays 1-3 weeks in the intestine. Then it spreads into the bloodstream, affecting other tissues and organs. People living in industrialised countries rarely get this disease. However, it remains a serious health concern in the developing countries, in particular for kids.
The signs and symptoms of typhoid include high fever, abdominal pain, constipation, diarrhoea and headache. If left untreated, some cases of typhoid can also end in death. If proper treatment is given at the right time, then people feel better after taking antibiotic treatment.
People can also get vaccinated to prevent typhoid; however, the vaccines are only partially effective as these vaccines are generally reserved for those who have the risk of getting typhoid or are travelling to areas where this illness is common. Typhoid can be diagnosed by detecting the presence of Salmonella Typhimurium via blood, stool, urine or bone marrow sample.
What are the Symptoms of Typhoid?
The symptoms of typhoid begin 6-30 days after exposure to the bacteria.
Once signs and symptoms of typhoid appear, you are likely to experience:
Weakness and fatigue
Loss of appetite
Abdominal pain and swollen abdomen
Diarrhoea or constipation
If an individual does not get proper medical treatment after experiencing these symptoms, then the bowel may get penetrated which can lead to peritonitis (inflammation of the abdomen), which can be very serious. You may then experience symptoms like feeling hysterical, motionless and exhausted.
What are the Causes of Typhoid?
As stated above, Typhoid is caused by bacteria called Salmonella Typhimurium. There are two ways by which typhoid attacks a human body:
1.Fecal-oral transmission route
In developing nations, where typhoid is a common disease, most people get this illness as a result of drinking contaminated water, eating contaminated food or poor sanitation. This illness is not common in industrialised countries. However, people living in industrialised countries can get typhoid while travelling and spread it to others through the fecal-oral route.
This means that Salmonella Typhimurium gets transmitted between individuals by direct contact with the faeces of an infected person. You can get the infection if you eat or drink something handled by someone with typhoid who has not washed carefully and appropriately after using the toilet. You can also become infected by drinking water contaminated with the bacteria.
Sometimes few people even after getting proper treatment continue to carry bacteria that cause the disease in their intestinal tracts, or gallbladders, for years. These people are called chronic carriers who shed the pathogens in body excretions and have the capability to infect others, even though they no longer have signs or symptoms of the diseases themselves.
What are the Risk factors?
Typhoid fever is a severe disease which poses a threat to the whole world- especially in developing countries. It affects approximately 26 million or more people each year. Typhoid fever is endemic in Southeast Asia, India, Africa, South America and many other areas.
Children are more at risk of getting the disease, although the severity of illness in kids is quite low.
Even if a person lives in a country where typhoid fever is not common, still they are at increased of getting the illness if they:
Travel to areas or work where typhoid is endemic
Work as a Clinical Microbiologist and handle bacterium causing Typhoid
Have close contact with someone who is infected with typhoid fever
Drink contaminated water that contains Salmonella Typhimurium
What are the Complications of Typhoid Fever?
There are many complications of Typhoid fever such as:
1.Intestinal bleeding or holes
One of the most severe conditions of typhoid fever is intestinal bleeding or perforations (holes) in the intestine, which generally develops in the third week of illness. When your small intestine or large bowels develop a hole, it leads to perforations in the intestine, which in turn causes intestinal contents to leak into your abdominal cavity and then people experience signs and symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, severe abdominal pain and sepsis (bloodstream infection). This is a serious health problem and requires immediate medical care.
2.There are several other complications of typhoid fever which are less common such as:
Inflammation of the heart muscle
Inflammation of the lining of the heart and valves
Inflammation of the pancreas
Inflammation of the membranes and fluid which surround your brain and spinal cord
Mental health problems such as hallucinations, delirium and paranoid psychosis.
When should you see a Doctor?
If you observe any of the signs and symptoms of typhoid as mentioned above, then do visit a General Physician and get the proper treatment done.
How to get prepared for the appointment?
If you develop mild symptoms similar to those that occur with typhoid fever, then consult a Doctor immediately.
Below are some vital details that you should collect in advance before visiting the Doctor:
1.List of Symptoms
Make a proper note of all the symptoms that you are experiencing and for how long. It is because when you visit the Doctor, you may forget some symptoms; thus it is better to write it down so that you can remember it.
2.Exposure to possible sources of infection
Make a list of all places you have travelled, what you consumed during your trip and the dates you travelled so that the Doctor can identify what may have caused typhoid.
Make a note of your medical history including other health conditions you are suffering from, medications, vitamins or supplements that you are taking. Also, list down any vaccinations that you have taken.
It is obvious that you would also like to ask certain questions to the Doctor. Thus, write down the questions in advance that you want to ask your doctor.
For instance, people experiencing typhoid symptoms may ask:
What causes Typhoid?
What tests will I have to undergo?
How long will it take me to recover fully?
How is the Diagnosis Made?
The Doctor will first take your medical history and conduct a physical examination. However, the diagnosis of typhoid is generally confirmed by detecting the presence of Salmonella typhimurium in a culture of your blood or other body tissue or body fluid.
What are the Tests for Typhoid?
A blood culture during the 1st week of the typhoid fever can show the presence of Salmonella typhimurium in the blood. Doctors ask the patient to go for a Complete Blood Count (CBC) to screen for typhoid.
There are also several other tests which help diagnose the condition such as:
ELISA urine test to detect the presence of bacteria that causes typhoid
How is Typhoid Treated?
Typhoid is treated with the help of antibiotics. Other than antibiotics, Doctors make the patient drink adequate water and stay hydrated. Sometimes, fluids and electrolytes are also given by IV (into a vein).
How can Typhoid Fever be prevented?
Countries which have less access to clean water and washing facilities and are not able to maintain proper sanitation have a higher number of typhoid cases. People living and travelling in Africa, South America and Asia (particularly India) should be careful and try some preventive measures to avoid typhoid.
You can follow these general rules to prevent typhoid:
Drink water from packaged water bottle
Beware of eating anything that has been handled by someone else
Avoid eating street food
Do not drink anything that contains ice
Avoid eating raw fruits and vegetables
Vaccination is another way to prevent typhoid. If you are travelling to a particular area where typhoid is common, then getting vaccinated against typhoid fever is advised. The vaccine can be given through oral medication or a one-off injection.
Oral medication consists of four tablets, out of which one is to be taken every other day, and the last one is to be taken one week before travel. The one-off injection is administered two weeks before travel.
There are also side effects of taking these vaccines:
Oral: fever, headache, nausea, vomiting, skin rash and stomach ache.
Injection or shot: fever, headache, redness or swelling at the site of injection.
You should not take vaccines if you are currently ill or are under six years of age. Also, those who have HIV should not take the oral dose.
Note: These vaccines are not 100 % effective, and thus you should be careful while eating and drinking anything.
How can Typhoid be treated with the help of home remedies?
Some Home Remedies which can provide relief from typhoid symptoms and Boost Recovery :
A cold compress is highly effective in getting rid of typhoid as it assists in lowering down the high temperature of the body. Take a washcloth and soak it in cool tap water. Squeeze off the excess water and place it on your forehead. Keep changing the cloth frequently and follow this treatment until the fever is under control.
Note: Do not use ice or extremely cold water as it can worsen the condition.
2.Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is an effective and time-tested remedy to treat typhoid. It helps in reducing the high body temperature and draws heat out of the skin due to its acidic property.
Take ½ teaspoon of raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar and a little amount of honey. Mix both the ingredients in a glass of water and drink this mixture before eating your meals. Follow this remedy for one week for best results
Garlic has antimicrobial properties which help in fighting off bacteria that causes typhoid. Other than that, it boosts the body’s immune system and also flushes harmful toxins out of the body and speeds up recovery.
Eat two garlic cloves for a few weeks on an empty stomach to treat typhoid.
Another way of using garlic is by mixing it with milk and water. Take ½ teaspoon of crushed garlic, 1 cup of milk and 4 cups of water. Mix all the ingredients well and boil it until it reduces to ¼ of its original amount. Drink this solution thrice a day.
Note: Garlic is not suitable for pregnant women and small children.
Many people deal with the problem of diarrhoea while they suffer from typhoid. Bananas can treat diarrhoea efficiently. Bananas are loaded with potassium which balances the loss of electrolytes during fever and diarrhoea.
You can eat ripe bananas or add them to yoghurt to treat typhoid. Or take pulp of a banana and add a cup of buttermilk to it, intake it daily to bring down the fever.
Due to its alkaline properties, lemon treats gastrointestinal problems. Drink a glass of lemon water with a little honey added to it for a week. You can also drink lemon water after recovery.
Basil is a natural herb with antibiotic and antibacterial properties which help in protecting the body against bacteria that cause typhoid. It also brings down the fever, treats stomach problems and boosts the body’s immune system.
Mix 20 basil leaves and one teaspoon of crushed ginger to a cup of water. Boil it until the mixture reduces by half. Add a little amount of honey to it and drink the tea two to three times a day for a few days.
You can use basil in another efficient way. Take 6 to 8 basil leaves and extract the juice out of it. Add a pinch of fresh black pepper to the juice and eat it two times a day for few weeks.
7.Raisins and Dry Plum
Take 5-6raisins and 2-3 pieces of dry plum. Soak them in 2 glasses of water and keep it overnight. Blend them and drink on an empty stomach the next morning. This home remedy is effective in curing high fever.
Cloves can also prove to be useful in treating typhoid. The essential oils in cloves have antibacterial properties which kills the bacteria that cause typhoid. The two common symptoms of typhoid, i.e. vomiting and diarrhea can be treated with the help of cloves.
Take 5 to 7 clove buds and add it to 8 cups of water. Boil this solution until it reduces by half. Allow it to cool. Strain and drink this solution several times a day. Follow this remedy for at least one week.
Buttermilk helps in treating stomach problems and also prevents dehydration.
You can drink a few glasses of buttermilk every day. Or take pulp of one banana and add it to a glass of buttermilk. Drink this twice a day.
Take two teaspoons of freshly extracted juice of coriander leaves and add it to a cup of buttermilk. Drink this solution every day for at least two weeks.
Honey aids digestion process and also boosts the immune system of the body. You can even add one tablespoon of honey to a glass of warm water and drink it twice a day.
Some Do’s and Don’ts to Remember:
Use cold compress if you have a high fever
Increase the intake of fluids to stay hydrated
Eat foods high in nutrition like foods which are high in protein (such as eggs and milk), carbohydrates, iron, fibre and potassium
Adopt proper hygiene measures
Take proper bed rest
Include green vegetables and soups in your diet
Eat home-cooked food
Wash your hands properly before eating food or cooking a meal.
Do not eat street food
Avoid consuming milk and dairy products
Avoid fried and spicy food
Do not go for ice creams, sugary drinks, alcohol or tea.
Do not eat meats and sugary items until the time you recover fully.
Typhoid is one of the common diseases in the rainy season. You should take proper preventive measures to avoid getting sick. Maintaining proper hygiene and not eating outside food can help you a lot in keeping typhoid at bay. However, illness can strike anytime, and so if you experience any symptom of typhoid fever, do not hesitate to consult a Physician.