Typhoid fever is also known as enteric fever or simply typhoid and is caused by bacterial infection by Salmonella typhi. The term typhoid has been derived from ‘tuphos’ meaning ‘stupor’ in English. The main underlying cause of this disease is consumption of contaminated food or water.
It is a highly contagious disease that can be transmitted from one individual to another and is characterized by a particular course of temperature with marked abdominal symptoms causing a great deal of discomfort to the patient. As per statistics, typhoid fever is known to affect over 17 million people globally every year resulting in approximately 600,000 deaths. In the United States alone, it is estimated that 400 people are affected by the disease each year, of which 75% individuals get infected while traveling abroad.
Symptoms of typhoid fever:
The disease takes around 10-14 days to develop and is characterized by the sudden onset of fever that remains high for 10 days to 2 weeks. It is accompanied by chills, fatigue, severe headache, nausea, backache, lack of appetite, diarrhea, constipation, increased sweating and gastroenteritis. During the second week of the fever, skin eruptions in the form of rose spots may also make an appearance on the lower chest and abdomen of the patient.
Typhoid fever may even cause inflammation of the bones and development of ulcers in the bowels if adequate care is not given to the patient. Loss of appetite becomes more prominent and the tongue becomes dry and coated with white patches towards the center. The patient may also suffer from delirium which may be calm or agitated. The fever gradually comes back to normal by the fourth week.
Causes of typhoid fever:
The leading cause of typhoid fever is poor sanitation followed by consumption of contaminated food, water or milk. This disease is highly infectious in nature and may be contracted from individuals carrying it. The most common contaminants are fecal matter and urine along with vomits and saliva. The infection can also spread through contaminated hands.
Treatment for typhoid fever:
Once the initial symptoms of the fever have onset, the patient must be put on complete bed rest and should be given adequate nursing care. The patient must be kept on a liquid diet of barley and fruit juice. Orange juice diluted with water should be given to the patient as this helps re-build the digestive power and increases the body’s resistance to disease. Intake of orange juice also works wonders for the patient’s appetite, increases the production of urine and supplies the body with nutrients.
Taking garlic on an empty stomach also helps during typhoid fever. Garlic boosts the immune system and enhances the action of white blood cells. Holy basil or Tulsi is also quite effective when it comes to treating typhoid fever. Take about 4 leaves of basil, a pinch of saffron and 7 grains of black pepper. Make paste using water and give to the patient in the form of small tablets with lukewarm milk 2-3 times a day.