Tips to prevent Typhoid fever in your child.

Typhoid fever is caused due to consumption of the bacteria which is found in contaminated food and water. It is excreted in stool and urine by a person suffering/suffered from typhoid fever. An adult who has suffered from typhoid fever may excrete the bacteria in stool and urine for as long as 1 year.

If food handlers and cooks are infected with typhoid fever, they can become source of infection to many.

When does typhoid fever usually occur?

In India, typhoid fever can occur all throughout the year but usually peaks in summer when the water supply gets lesser and more chances of contamination.

When should I suspect that my child may have typhoid fever?

Typhoid fever is difficult to diagnose especially in the initial stages, even for a trained specialist. Its because it behaves like any other viral fever in the initial stages and later the complete picture may or may not develop. Due to vaccination and early use of antibiotics, many children of typhoid fever don’t develop the classical picture of the disease.

Some pointers/clues:

  • Continuous fever, as high as 103 to 104 F, rarely touching baseline

  • Low grade fever to start with but then persistent high grade fever after 3rd or 4th day

  • Dull aching abdominal pain

  • Dry cough, usually coming after 3rd or 4th day of fever but usually mild

  • Coated tongue

Which complications can occur due to typhoid fever?

  • Bleeding from the intestines

  • Perforation of intestines

  • Pneumonia

  • Rarely, neurological complications

But complications with typhoid fever are very rare due to effective antibiotics.

How can I prevent my child from getting typhoid fever?

  • Vaccinate your child with Typhoid vaccine

  • Personal hygiene and handwashing, especially if someone in your family is infected with typhoid fever

  • Drink clean, treated water, especially in summers. AVOID EATING ICE

  • Avoid street foods and eat foods which are piping hot

  • Avoid raw fruits and vegetables

Final take home messages:

  • Typhoid fever happens due to consumption of contaminated food and water

  • Difficult to diagnose in early stages. So, any fever not responding within 48 hours of your doctor's visit, let your pediatrician have a relook

  • Early institution of treatment can avoid indoor admissions and complications

  • Complete the 10-14 days course of prescribed antibiotic, else typhoid can relapse

  • After starting of treatment, fever in typhoid illness can take a longer time to go; anywhere between 5th-7th day

  • Widal test is not the gold standard of diagnosis and the test has to be interpreted by an expert only

  • The cost of vaccination is very less compared to illness. So, get your child vaccinated with typhoid vaccine

Disclaimer : "This handout is made on standard medical guidelines and is purely informative. Not to be used for treatment. 

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