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Healthy Diet Plans >>  Health Issues and Diet >>  Typhoid

Symptoms Of Typhoid

Typhoid is an infection caused by the Salmonella Typhi bacterium. The incubation time for typhoid fever is usually one to two weeks. If the fever is not treated in time, it takes about four weeks for the typhoid symptoms to fully develop with new symptoms seen almost every week. The typhoid symptoms usually improve with treatment. Here’s a list of typhoid symptoms.

In the first week, signs of typhoid fever include:

  • Fever that gradually rises and settles at 103 to 104 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Pain in the abdomen
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Vomiting, usually seen only in children
  • Dull headache
  • Dry cough
  • Delirium
  • A feeling of being unwell

In the second week, the symptoms that are seen in the first week become even more severe and you may also have the following symptoms:

  • Abdominal swelling
  • Slow heartbeat
In the third week, symptoms of typhoid fever include:

  • Weight loss
  • Loss of appetite
  • Bouts of yellow-green, foul-smelling watery diarrhea
  • Physical exhaustion
  • Rapid breathing
  • Confusion and a deterioration of mental health

In a few people, potentially life-threatening symptoms such as internal bleeding, myocarditis, and perforation of the bowel are also seen.

In some cases, the typhoid bacteria could also start releasing toxins that could cause multiple organ failure. In the fourth week, in those patients without any complications, there is a gradual improvement in the symptoms. Physical exhaustion and weight loss would continue for a few months after that.

Typhoid signs in children could be slightly different from typhoid fever symptoms in adults. Symptoms such as diarrhea are more common in children, whereas adults are more likely to become constipated. In addition to diarrhea, children also vomit. Signs of typhoid in infants include sunken fontanels, diarrhea, lethargy, and no tears when they cry.

What Causes Typhoid Fever

Typhoid is caused by the bacterium Salmonella Typhi. The organisms causing typhoid spread through contaminated water or food and in some cases, through direct contact with a person infected with the bacterium. In developing countries, the fever results from poor sanitation and polluted drinking water. In majority of the cases in industrialized countries, it is found that the bacteria causing typhoid is spread to other people through the fecal-oral route. The urine and feces of infected people contains the S.typhi bacteria. You could therefore get the infection if the food you eat is handled by a person with typhoid who has not used proper hygiene measures after having visited the bathroom. Drinking contaminated water could also allow the pathogens causing typhoid to affect you.

Even after being treated with antibiotics, a few people continue to carry the bacteria in their gallbladder or intestinal tract. The bacteria are shed in their feces sometimes infecting others. Such chronic carriers may not have any symptoms of typhoid fever but are responsible for many of the typhoid fever outbreaks. Once the person ingests the contaminated water or food, the bacteria invades his/her small intestines and temporarily enters the bloodstream. The white blood cells carry this bacterium in the spleen, liver, and bone marrow. The bacterium multiplies in these organs and enters the person’s bloodstream again. It is at this stage that the patient develops various symptoms such as fever.

Typhoid Treatment

Doctors prescribe antibiotics to kill the Salmonella typhi bacterium that causes typhoid fever. This treatment also provides relief from the typhoid fever symptoms. Typhoid fever treatment using antibiotics can help shorten the time period a person has the fever and also reduces any risk of death. The typhoid fever medicine prescribed by the doctor depends on various factors such as the general health and age of the patient, the typhoid fever bacteria’s strain and sensitivity to certain antibiotics, and the severity of the symptoms the patient is experiencing.

Here are some typhoid fever home remedies that can help reduce the symptoms.

  • Avoid eating solid foods when you have the infection.
  • Eat foods that are easy to digest.
  • Ensure that the patient’s surroundings are clean and keep him/her in a well-ventilated room.
  • An effective natural cure for typhoid fever is a combination of banana and honey. Take a ripe banana, mash it well, and add one tablespoon of honey to it. Consume this mixture twice a day.
  • Oranges are also found to be quite effective in relieving typhoid fever symptoms. You can have orange as a juice, or consume it in its natural form.       
  • Other effective remedies include eating apples, sweet limes and raisins.
  • Before trying any natural typhoid treatment for children and kids, it is usually recommended that you connect with your health care provider. 

Diagnosis Of Typhoid

Your health care provider usually suspects typhoid based on the symptoms and your travel and medical history. The typhoid diagnosis is then confirmed by identifying the Salmonella typhi bacteria by doing a blood tissue or fluid culture.

To do the typhoid laboratory tests the doctor collects a small sample of stool, blood, bone marrow, or urine. This sample is then kept on a special medium that encourages bacteria to grow. In around 48 to 72 hours, the culture is examined under a microscope to see if there is any typhoid bacteria present. One of the most sensitive typhoid diagnostic tests is the bone marrow culture. Doctors may also opt for the Widal test for typhoid diagnosis. The Widal test takes a lot of time, and by the time a diagnosis is reached, it becomes too late to start antibiotic regimen on the patient.   

It is important that you go in for prompt medical care if you have symptoms such as abdominal pain, fever, rash, and diarrhea, especially after you have visited high-risk areas or have some exposure to the disease. If you go in for early diagnosis, treatment helps reduce your risks for any kind of serious complications. A blood test for typhoid patients will be done only once the doctor recommends it.

Medications For Typhoid

Typhoid fever can be treated and can be cured with a complete antibiotics course. There are many typhoid medications available that can be used to treat the fever. These medications can either be in the oral or intravenous form. The medicines for typhoid fever kill and destroy the bacteria that are responsible for the disease. This is done by disrupting the process used by the bacteria’s cells to make energy. These antibiotics are also responsible for inhibiting the replication process of the Salmonella Typhi bacteria. If you have symptoms of typhoid fever make sure that you do not delay treatment as prompt treatment drastically helps reduce any chances of complications.

Depending on the drug you use, it takes anything between 7 to 14 days for the typhoid bacteria to be completely eliminated. Some of the medications you use may have side-effects such as diarrhea and nausea.

A person with mild symptoms of typhoid fever can be treated on an outpatient basis. They have to wash their hands properly and avoid cooking food for others while they are ill. Hospitalized patients are usually kept in contact isolation when the infection is acute. Urine and feces of these patients should be disposed of carefully.

There are some vaccines available in the market today that can help prevent typhoid fever. However, these vaccines are not 100% successful at preventing typhoid, and they need to be taken every two to three years.

Submitted on January 16, 2014