Typhoid: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

tummy aches

How Much Do You Understand Typhoid?

Typhoid is a medical condition caused by bacteria known as salmonella Typhi. It can be life-threatening in some continents of the world. The bacteria infect people through contaminated foods and water as well as direct contact with the sick person.

Typhoid comes with a severe kind of headache that makes you want to support your head with your hands because you feel like your head would drop from your neck at any minute. It also makes you feel nauseated all day long with frequent vomiting until you must have emptied all the food contents in your stomach.

Although in developed countries, typhoid is a rare illness, but in developing countries, a lot of people suffer from this infection, with children being the most affected population.

The bacteria that causes typhoid easily spreads through contaminated foods and water. It comes with so much discomfort like abdominal and headache, coupled with a loss of appetite. Leaving typhoid untreated can pose a threat and can lead to serious complications. It is advised by medical practitioners that all typhoid cases should be reported in the hospital for proper treatment. The symptoms of typhoid include fever, diarrhea, headache, and constipation.

Treating typhoid involves the use of antibiotics. Typhoid sick people who use antibiotics tend to feel better while they are on the antibiotics medication. People who die from typhoid complications are those who left the illness untreated for a long period of time.

According to researchers, typhoid vaccines are not 100% effective. They are given to people who are exposed to contracting the typhoid-causing infection easily, such as travelers who travel to areas where typhoid is rampant. Vaccination only reduces the risks of falling ill from typhoid. The vaccination does not wholly prevent you from falling sick.

Symptoms of Typhoid

Symptoms of typhoid develop slowly and gradually and worsen with time if left untreated. Symptoms start to appear between 2 and 3 weeks of exposure to the bacteria. Symptoms of typhoid include;

  • High fever. A kind of fever that increases every passing day and goes as high as 103.9 F. This fever introduces other symptoms of typhoid.
  • Other symptoms of typhoid include;
  • Frequent headache that cripples your daily activities. It makes you grasp your head for support due to the constant and loud banging you feel in your head.
  • Weakness and fatigue from the fever and headache. At this point, typhoid begins to weaken the body system.
  • Muscle aches coupled with the fever; the joints and muscles of the body begin to ache badly, such that the victim finds it difficult to leave one spot.
  • Sweating; Due to the high temperature, hot flashes and constant sweat begin to set in. This comes with so much discomfort, and resorting to taking a shower can complicate things. Taking a shower during this constant sweat could usher in chills and shivers.
  • Dry cough; Though rare, typhoid patients tend to develop a dry cough with time as typhoid worsens.
  • Loss of appetite; Due to the discomfort that comes with the fever and other symptoms, victims barely eat, and their loss of appetite would lead to their drastic weight loss.
  • Weight loss; Weight loss is the outcome of loss of appetite. When typhoid ill people eat little or nothing, they lose weight drastically. This can also lead to complications as drugs might not function properly when they take them on an empty stomach.
  • Stomach ache; This is the prior symptom of nausea. Here, the stomach aches badly as a result of the bacterial infection from the contaminated food and drinks.
  • Nausea; This causes you to vomit all the food content in your stomach. Sometimes when the stomach becomes too empty and vomiting continues, the victim begins to vomit a greenish substance.
  • Diarrhea and constipation; The stomach becomes so full as a result of constipation. This is another reason why they lose appetite because they feel full already. In cases of complicated typhoid, diarrhea becomes a major symptom.
  • Rashes
  • Swollen stomach; Though rare, but occurs when the typhoid is on its way to getting complicated.

Complication Symptoms

If left untreated, the following may develop;

  • Intestinal bleeding; holes begin to develop in the intestines when typhoid is left untreated. This is likely to happen 3 weeks into the illness. Here, holes begin to develop both in the large and small intestines. When this happens, the intestines’ contents begin to leak, causing severe stomach ache and nausea coupled with a blood infection. Intestinal bleeding is a chronic and severe medical emergency.
  • Deliriousness, psychosis, and hallucinations
  • Typhoid state- a state where you become too tired and exhausted to even keep your eyes open on your own.
  • Myocarditis; inflamed heart muscles.
  • Blood, bladder, and kidney infections.
  • Pancreatitis; inflamed pancreas.
  • Endocarditis; inflamed valves and heart lining.
  • Mycotic aneurysm; infected blood vessels.
  • Inflamed and infected spinal cord and brain fluids.

sick womanAt this point of complication, it has become a serious threat to the victim’s life, and the victim can die any time after the typhoid state. Being a medical emergency, it is advised that proper treatment measures are taken before severe symptoms begin to manifest.

When symptoms return even after treatment, it is best to go back to the hospital for proper examination and testing.

See a Doctor When…

  • You begin to feel symptoms.
  • You do not notice any change while using the drugs.
  • The fever comes back even after full treatment.
  • You think you are feeling the complicated symptoms of typhoid.

Causes of Typhoid

The major culprit that causes typhoid is a bacterium known as salmonella Typhi. When this bacterium is present in what you ingest, you are likely to begin to develop typhoid symptoms. The following are routes through which people get infected with typhoid;


People who carry the infection tend to spread it to others. Even after taking antibiotics, some people still carry the bacteria. This is why this set of people are called the ‘chronic carriers’ of typhoid-causing bacteria. Chronic carriers may not feel the symptoms of typhoid, but they can infect others with it when they come in direct contact with those who do not have the illness.

Fecal-oral Route

The fecal-oral route involves the transmission of the Salmonella Typhi bacteria through urine and feces. When chronic carriers of typhoid do not wash their hands properly after using the toilet and share edibles with non-infected people, those non-infected people will begin to notice symptoms in no time. Edibles that were handled by chronic carriers could lead to infection for others.

Contaminated Foods and Water

In underdeveloped and developing countries, people get infected by drinking contaminated water, as well as eating contaminated foods. Contamination could be through carriers or other contaminants like insects’ and pests’ direct contact with foods and water, chemicals used for purification of water, and ripening of foods and fruits.

Risk Factors of Typhoid

Being a severe medical condition that affects over 20 million people yearly, typhoid has caused almost as many deaths. According to research, typhoid was established in areas that include India, South America, Asia, and Africa.

Children suffer the blow of the disease more than adults as their tender bodies may find it difficult to bear the symptoms of the disease. Although Doctors claim that the symptoms of typhoid in children are always milder than they are in adults, no study has been able to confirm this.

The following are risk factors of typhoid;

  • Traveling to areas where typhoid disease is rampant
  • Working as a Doctor in a hospital where you majorly handle Salmonella Typhi bacteria cases
  • Drinking contaminated water
  • Eating contaminated foods
  • Coming in direct contact with chronic carriers

Prevention of Typhoid

  • Practice good personal hygiene
  • Practice environmental sanitation
  • Always see a Doctor for proper medical care and attention.
  • Drink clean water
  • Wash fruits thoroughly before eating
  • Cover foods well to prevent contamination from pests.
  • Avoid undercooked meats or foods.
  • Avoid unripe fruits
  • Heat stale foods properly before eating.
  • hygieneWash your hands constantly with water and soap.
  • Eat hot foods
  • Visit your doctor if you notice any typhoid symptoms.
  • Do not touch your face.
  • Avoid other people when you are sick so that you will not infect them.

In conclusion, typhoid is a medical illness that you cannot recover from without adequate treatment. When typhoid symptoms are noticed, it is important to report to a doctor for immediate treatment. Leaving typhoid untreated for a long time could lead to unfavorable conditions and complications. Above all, it is important to practice good food and personal hygiene in order to prevent it.