family health, health care

Typhoid: Causes, Symptoms, Prevention

Typhoid is characterized by a slowly progressive fever, gastroenteritis, profuse sweating, and no bloody diarrhea. Less commonly, a rash of flat, rose-colored spots may seem. Typhoid, also known as typhoid fever is a life threatening disease, which is caused due to an infection by the bacterium Salmonella typhi. According to the Center for Disease Control, about 21.5 million people in developing countries contract typhoid each year

How is typhoid caused?

The bacterium Salmonella typhi is present only in human beings and is carried through contaminated food or water. People with this infection convey the bacterium in their intestines as well as the bloodstream, and those who have retrieved from the disease could even have the bacterium in their system; they are known as ‘carriers’ of the disease. Both ill people as well as carriers shed Salmonella typhi in their stool. Infection is normally spread when food or water is handled by a person who is shedding the bacterium or if sewage water leaks into drinking water or food that is then consumed. For this reason this disease is common in areas where proper hand washing techniques is not followed.


The common symptoms of typhoid

Once the bacterium is ingested it rapidly multiplies within the stomach, liver or gallbladder and at last enters the blood stream causing symptoms such as fever (usually between 1030F- 1040F), rashes, headaches, vomiting, loss of appetite, general fatigue. In severe cases one may suffer from intestinal perforations or internal bleeding, diarrhea or constipation as well.

‘Step ladder fever’ is one of the characteristic symptoms of typhoid. This indicates that the fever gradually fluctuates between very high and low fever for a short period of time, until it peaks at 1030F – 1040F. Without any complications the condition subsides in about three to four weeks after its onset, in patients. In about 10% of people, the condition relapses later on about one week of convalescence.


What can we avoid contracting the condition?

Nowadays, there are vaccines, which can protect you from contracting typhoid. The Ty21a vaccine is dispensed intramuscularly (injected into a muscle). It also requires the patient to take a booster shot after five years. The vaccine is still not very effective so that being said, even if a person has accepted the vaccine, they should not expose themselves to possible infectious agents.

Aside from the vaccine, there are some basic things, which one can take care of in order to avert the condition:

  • Avoid eating food cooked on the road side. Because it is very difficult to judge the water source they use and the cleanliness of the food handler.
  • Avoid eating fruits and raw vegetables that have been precut.
  • Do not have ice or popsicles which are prepared locally. Since the water source as well as cleanliness of the manufacturing facility is not known, it is best avoided.
  • One must make sure that they wash their hands well earlier cooking a meal or eating.
  • Must drink either bottled water or boiled water. It is necessary that the water is brought to a rolling boil. That indicates that the water reaches a boiling point and is allowed to boil for about two to three minutes.

Typhoid is a totally avoidable condition; simply keep these simple tips in mind to hold the disease at bay.

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