Typhoid fever is a life-threatening infection caused by the bacterium Salmonella Typhi and it is very rampant in Nigeria.
This bacteria is usually spread through contaminated food and water or when an uninfected person comes in contact with an infected person.
Signs and symptoms of Typhoid fever
Though many people who have typhoid fever recover after a few days of receiving antibiotic treatment, a small number of them die of complications. Some symptoms of typhoid fever include;
fever, Headache, weakness, fatigue, dry cough, muscle aches, stomach pain, sweating, loss of appetite and weight loss, diarrhea or constipation, swollen stomach, rash, etc.
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In most cases, symptoms are likely to develop gradually — usually appearing one to three weeks after a person has been exposed to the disease. For some people, signs and symptoms may return about two weeks after the fever has subsided.
Though the vaccine is available, it is only partially effective and is mostly used by people who are traveling from developed countries to countries where typhoid fever is very common.
Typhoid fever can be treated with antibiotics. As resistance to antibiotics has emerged including fluoroquinolones, newer antibiotics such as cephalosporins and azithromycin are used in the affected regions. Resistance to azithromycin has been reported sporadically but it is not common as of yet.
Even when the symptoms go away, people may still be carrying typhoid bacteria, meaning they can spread it to others through their feces.
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It is important for people being treated for typhoid fever to do the following:
Take prescribed antibiotics for as long as the doctor has prescribed.
Wash their hands with soap and water after using the bathroom, and do not prepare or serve food for other people. This will lower the chance of passing the infection on to someone else.
Have their doctor test to ensure that no Salmonella Typhi bacteria remain in their body.
Even though the vaccine is not effective, there are effective ways of preventing the disease. Some of them include;
1. Washing of hands
Washing your hands frequently with warm and soapy water is one of the best ways to control the infection. You are advised to wash your hands before eating and after using the toilet. Also, using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer for times when water isn’t available goes a long way in keeping the disease at bay.
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2. Avoid drinking contaminated or untreated water
Contaminated drinking water is one of the major causes of typhoid in areas where typhoid fever is endemic. For this reason, you are advised to drink only bottled water or canned or bottled carbonated beverages, beer, and wine.
3. Wash fruits and vegetables
Washing your fruits and vegetables with clean and treated water is important if you want to live a typhoid-free life.
4. Eat hot foods
Do not eat food that is served at room temperature. Steaming hot foods are safer. And although there’s no guarantee that food served at fancy restaurants is safe, food from street vendors is more likely to be infected.