Thursday, June 13, 2024

Typhoid Fever: Signs & Symptoms

Typhoid Fever: Signs & Symptoms

Typhoid Fever, a life-threatening condition, is usually spread by the bacterium Salmonella Typhi through food or water which is contaminated. Once this bacteria gets ingested, it multiplies and spreads rapidly into the bloodstream. Climate changes and urbanisation have been exponentially increasing this disease’s global burden. Additionally, rising resistance to antibiotic treatments is making it relatively easier for this fever to spread amongst communities which lack access to adequate sanitation or drinking water. 

The typhoid fever conjugate vaccine has been recommended for usage amongst children from the age of 6 months. It can also be used amongst adults up to the ages of 45 or 65 years on the basis of the vaccine. Two such vaccines have been prequalified by the World Health Organisation since the month of December in the year 2017. They are being put into the programmes for childhood immunisation in the countries which have typhoid fever endemics. 

Read on to know about the causes, symptoms, and more of the typhoid fever so that you can get the right treatment at the right time. 

Causes of Typhoid Fever

People in developing countries are majorly affected by typhoid fever since these countries have poor sanitation facilities. Besides the fact that it gets spread through the bacterium Salmonella Typhi, there are several other factors which aggravate its risks. Here are some of them:

  • Close contact with an individual who is already infected with typhoid fever.
  • Travelling to endemic areas where typhoid fever is extremely common.
  • Increased exposure to the bacteria, specifically amongst professionals working in the laboratories and the hospitals.

Typhoid Fever Symptoms

Being an enteric infection, typhoid fever affects the intestines of the infected person. Hence, the symptoms which the afflicted individuals experience are with respect to their digestion. The symptoms of this fever generally begin to show up on a gradual basis over a span of 10 to 14 days after the infected person is exposed to the Salmonella Typhi bacterium. This illness lasts for a total span of about three to four weeks. Few symptoms which are indicative of the fact that you might have typhoid factor are as follows:

  • Abdominal pain 
  • Headache
  • Irregular fever which may rise up to as high as 40.5 ˚C (or, 104.9 ˚F).
  • Muscular pain
  • Feeling of weakness or fatigue
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Anorexia/loss of appetite
  • Diarrhoea or constipation

If not treated on time, this fever may last up to a month or even more, thereby getting worse, more serious, or even life threatening. There are several reasons for fever, hence, it is advisable to get tested immediately in case it lasts more than 3 to 4 days. These tests, however, can prove to be financially stressful, especially if a senior citizen in your family requires it to get it done. In such a scenario, you can buy a suitable health insurance for senior citizens in India. This will help save significantly on their treatment expenses.Stages of Typhoid Fever

Here are the four stages of typhoid fever, each of which lasts for about a week:

  • Stage 1

In this stage, you may experience few of the preliminary symptoms of typhoid such as headache, indolence, or dry cough. This could be accompanied with fever or not. Even if you have fever along with this, the temperature of your body will not be significantly greater than the normal temperature.

  • Stage 2

During this stage, the body temperature rises with an increase in the bloating of the stomach. Another significant symptom of this stage is weight loss. Fever dreams or hallucinations are also very common. Agitation and fatigueness are a few common after effects of this disease.

  • Stage 3

The situation starts worsening during this stage. Severe perforation in the intestines may lead to abdominal haemorrhage. Brain inflammation or encephalitis may develop and the afflicted individual may even get dehydrated which raises the severity of the delirium. They may even face difficulty in standing, walking, or sitting up. 

  • Stage 4

This stage of typhoid fever is characterised by significantly high fever. It results in various other health-related complications comprising kidney failure, infections, pancreatic inflammation, pneumonia, or meningitis. 

The bacteria causing the typhoid fever may stay in the afflicted person’s body for an extended span of time. As per reports, about 1%-4% of the treated patients excrete the Salmonella Typhi bacterium in their faeces even after 12 months of getting diagnosed with typhoid fever. In order to get rid of this bacteria, one must undergo a long course of several antibiotics. 

Some already treated people may experience a relapse as well. In such cases, these symptoms generally return about a week post the end of the antibiotic treatment. During the second time, these symptoms are generally milder and don’t last for a very long time relative to that of the original illness. However, further antibiotic treatment is generally recommended and you must consult your healthcare professional immediately if you experience any relapse of the disease.

Prevention of Typhoid Fever

Typhoid Fever is common in places with bad sanitation facilities. Having access to adequate sanitation and safe drinking water, hygiene among food vendors, and effective typhoid vaccination prove to be helpful to prevent typhoid fever. 

Follow these tips to prevent typhoid fever:

  • Consume properly cooked and hot food.
  • Avoid raw milk products, consume boiled or pasteurised milk.
  • Avoid ice which may be made of unsafe water.
  • Drink boiled water or that disinfected with a reliable disinfectant agent which are generally available at the pharmacies.
  • Wash your hands before eating, after going to the toilet, or getting in close contact with farm animals or pets.
  • Wash vegetables and fruits with extreme care before consuming them.

Signs of Recovery

Now that you are aware of the common symptoms of typhoid fever, it is also necessary to keep a track of your recovery. Here are a few of them:

  • No congestion in the chest
  • Reduced diarrhoea
  • Restored appetite
  • Normal body temperature
  • No headaches, stomach aches, or other pains

Final Word

Getting your typhoid fever diagnosed at an early stage can help you recover from it quickly. Being aware of the signs and symptoms is key to preventing it from getting worse. It can afflict people of almost every age group, however, it is a rare disease amongst senior citizens in India.

Despite the fact that it is rare, the discomfort caused due to the affliction of this fever may be higher with respect to the younger counterparts. This is so because of their weaker immunity due to their old age and their inability to build a significant amount of antibodies to fight the disease. As a result, it is advisable to look out for any such symptoms thereby arising in order to fasten the treatment procedure. 



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