Dr. M.J. Bazos, MD. Patient Handout


About Your Diagnosis
Typhoid fever is an infection of the intestinal tract caused by a bacteria. It can also affect the nervous system. Typhoid fever is transmitted to humans when they eat contaminated food, water, ice, eggs, or undercooked meat. Also, individuals who have or carry the bacteria can transmit the bacteria to others when they handle food without properly washing their hands after using the bathroom. Typhoid fever is more common in countries that don’t have adequately purified water systems. The infection is usually curable in 2–3 weeks with treatment. Typhoid can be fatal if not treated, especially in children.

Living With Your Diagnosis
Signs and symptoms include diarrhea that is often severe, muscle aches, headache, fever, and a rash. Sometimes a child will have abdominal cramps and bloody diarrhea.

Antibiotics such as sulfa drugs or ampicillin may be prescribed. Bed rest should be maintained until after symptoms subside; activity can then be gradually increased. During the diarrhea phase, increase fluid intake as tolerated and stay on a liquid diet. As the symptoms subside, gradually change your diet to a well-balanced, high-calorie diet. Isolation may not be possible, but if available use a separate bathroom. If another bathroom is not available, someone will need to scrub the toilet with a bleach solution after each use, using gloves. Hand washing is essential to prevent spreading the disease. Don’t give aspirin or aspirin derivatives for the fever because they can irritate the intestinal tract even more. Instead, use tepid sponge baths.

The DOs
• Take the antibiotics as ordered and until finished.
• Increase fluid intake and stay on a liquid diet until the diarrhea stops.
• Advance to a high-calorie diet after the diarrhea stops.
• Isolate the patient or have him use a separate bathroom.
• Scrub the bathroom with a bleach solution after use.
• Wash hands thoroughly and frequently.
• Use tepid sponge baths to reduce fever.
• Rest in bed until symptoms subside.

The DON’Ts
• Don’t skip doses or stop antibiotics until finished.
• Don’t use aspirin or aspirin derivatives for fever because these medications irritate the intestinal tract.
• If the water supply is of questionable safety, don’t eat raw fruits or vegetables unless you peel them yourself.

When to Call Your Doctor
If during treatment, any of the following occurs:
• Sore throat.
• Severe cough.
• Shortness of breath.
• High fever (temperature greater than 102°F).
• Severe abdominal pain.
• Severe headache or earache.

www.healthfinder.Gov (Choose SEARCH to search by topic.)