There is an epidemic outbreak of typhoid fever is Sub-Saharan Africa. Part of the problem is ignorance and poor access to quality healthcare services. People need to be educated about the causes, symptoms, treatments, vaccines of and for typhoid fever.
What is typhoid fever?
Typhoid fever is a serious illness associated with the fever triggered by the growth of bacterium Salmonella enterica subspecies in the bloodstream and intestines. This disease is contracted through:
• Ingesting contaminated (unwashed) foods
• Drinking unclean water
• Ingesting food or drink contaminated with the excreta of an infected person or animal
Blinding headaches, generalized body aches, fatigue, diarrhoea, prolonged high temperature and fevers are some of the most common symptoms of typhoid fevers.
The two types of typhoid fever can be categorized into:
• Typhoid fever: A serious illness caused by the Salmonella Typhi bacteria
• Paratyphoid fever: an acute illness caused by the Salmonella Paratyphi bacteria.
The different types of typhoid fevers are diagnosed by testing blood and urine samples. When the physician makes a diagnosis of typhoid fever, the next step is to start treatment.
How to treat different types of typhoid fever
1. Antibiotic Therapy
Antibiotics are commonly used in the treatment of typhoid fevers. It is important to note that not every antibiotic will be effective in curing the different types of typhoid fever.
The point is to prescribe an antibiotic that can kill and possibly, clear the Salmonella bacteria. The drug stops the disease from overwhelming the patient’s body and from causing complications like bleeding in the intestines.
In Nigeria, Ciprotab is the most common antibiotic medication used in the treatment of typhoid fevers. The meds are usually taken for a period of 7 to 10 days. Please avoid Chloramphenicol as medical experts have shown it has severe side effects. The last thing you want is to cure an illness only to start medicating the side effect of the medication.
Another cure for this disease involves surgically removing the gallbladder. This is because chronic infection tends to reside in the gall bladder. This mode of treatment is only used as a last resort.
3. Herbal therapy
For centuries, herbs have been used in the treatment of the different types of typhoid fevers. Examples of such herbs include scent leaves (Igbos call this ncheanwu. It is also known as effirim, to the Yorubas), bitter leaf juice, Utazi leaves and so on.
Tips for preventing the disease
An illness as acute as typhoid fever is better prevented than cured. In fact, medical experts recommend a lot of prevention strategies for the general public. Below are the most effective ways to prevent typhoid fever.
Vaccinations make it easier for the body to resist all attacks of the causative organism.
Vaccines are recommended for people who live in high-risk regions. If you intend to travel to a high-risk area, it is also better to get a shot of the vaccine.
If you have a child aged two or above, please take the child to the nearest government-owned hospital to be vaccinated. Adults can take the vaccines as well. Unlike other routine vaccines, this one isn’t being subsidized by the government, yet.
2) Wash your Fruits, vegetables and foods thoroughly
Foods are often transported and stored in very unhygienic conditions. Before you eat any uncooked fruits and vegetables, take time to wash in brine (salt water). The salt will kill any germs and of course, the water will rinse the germs from the food.
Wash and rinse vegetables up to three or four times.
Not only will you successfully get rid of all the sand, but you’ll also wash off any bacteria that might be clinging to the leaves. The same goes for fruits.
3) Drink sterilized water
The Salmonella bacteria spreads faster when a person drinks contaminated water. To reduce the risk of contracting the different types of typhoid fever, sterilize your drinking water. You can either boil, distil, or filter your water.
4) Avoid eating out
Although eating at restaurants can be fun, it can also be dangerous.
As much as possible, try to avoid eating at restaurants. When you wash your foods properly and cook them well, you’re unlikely to come down with any type of typhoid fever.
Typhoid fever is an acute illness caused by Salmonella bacteria. It can be prevented and treated. If you experience any of the symptoms of typhoid, get the test and see your physician.
While treating typhoid fever, ensure that you take your medications religiously. The abuse of antibiotics can make the bacteria become resistant to the medication.
This article was first published on AfricaParent.com