Typhoid- Causes, Symptoms, Treatment and How to prevent it?


Typhoid is a bacterial infection that affects more than 20 million people annually. If not taken proper care of, typhoid fever can be fatal as it can spread to various organs of the body. Typhoid is a transferable disease which can pass on through sharing of food and water, urine, and even through oral sex.

What is typhoid fever?

Typhoid is a serious bacterial disease. It is also called enteric fever. A  bacteria known as Salmonella typhi spreads this infection. The bacteria enter the bloodstream from the intestine and if not treated, they may even enter other organs of the body like the liver, spleen, gallbladder and other parts of the body.

People who transfer typhoid infection are called carriers of S typhi.

Stages of typhoid

There are four stages of typhoid. If taken care of, one can prevent from entering the later stages.

  1. The first stage – You will get a fever in the first stage of typhoid. The temperature keeps rising day by day.
  2. The second stage- In this stage, the person experiences abdominal pain along with diarrhoea. Some may even get red or pink dots on the skin that look like rashes.
  3. The third stage– People reach this stage only if they had not been taken care of during the early two stages. The bacteria causes severe damage to the internal organ and the person may even bleed internally.
  4. The fourth stage- People usually recover during the fourth stage. The temperature comes down and the bacteria do not show symptoms. But it can still be contagious and you may again get typhoid if you do not pay attention.

Causes of typhoid

The biggest cause of typhoid is poor sanitation conditions. If you eat something made with contaminated water and drink the dirty water you can have typhoid. Even if you wash the vegetables with contaminated water, the bacteria can enter your body and affect your health.

Other than this, typhoid will affect you if you use the toilet that was used earlier by someone who has typhoid and you don’t wash your hands. Or if an infected person touches your food without washing their hands.

If you enter a swimming pool or sea which has contaminated water with infected pee and poo, it can cause typhoid. Also, if you have oral sex or anal sex with a person who is affected by S. typhi, you are likely to develop typhoid.

Therefore, taking care of sanitization is a must to avoid typhoid.

What are the symptoms of typhoid?

Symptoms of typhoid do not appear immediately. They start showing 1 to 2 weeks after the bacteria gets in your body. The symptoms also worsen with time.

  • One can experience a fever as high as 104 degrees.
  • Body chills and shivering
  • Severe headache
  • Muscle pain and also stomach ache
  • Red rashes on the body
  • Weakness and fatigue
  • Diarrhoea
  • Some even experience constipation
  • Loss of appetite
  • You may sweat even if it is not hot outside.
  • Sometimes people even experience coughing
  • Abdominal pain
  • Swelling up of the stomach
  • In serious cases, one may even have internal bleeding
  • Being confused, not being able to have attention to anyone or anything. They may not even be able to respond to people. But it only occurs in extremely severe cases when people do not start the treatment earlier.

Treatment of typhoid

If one is at an early stage of typhoid, the doctors prescribe antibiotics for the treatment. They prescribe antibiotics depending on the type of typhoid the patient has. The type is detected through tests like blood tests, stool tests and pee tests.

The person needs to stay thoroughly hydrated, and drink enough liquids to restore the hydration level in their body.

But if the person is severely dehydrated or they are not getting better with antibiotics, they may be admitted to the hospital. The doctors then give the antibiotics through the veins.

But people improve within three days of admission. It is only in very serious cases that surgery is required. Doctors only do this when the patient has internal bleeding.

How to prevent typhoid?

  • You should wash your hands with soap before and after eating your meals. You must also wash your hands after using the toilet. Use hand sanitiser in the absence of water.
  • Avoid eating popsicles and iced drinks on the streets.
  • Wash the vegetables and fruits thoroughly. You should not eat vegetables along with the peels.
  • Try to drink only bottled water if you are outside your house.
  • Never swallow the water from your bathroom tap or shower.
  • Make sure your kids complete their vaccinations at the right age.

If you are careful and hygienic, typhoid will not affect your health. But in case, you see any signs or symptoms, do not delay and immediately go to the doctor.