By Dr Maharshi Desai
There is a worrying rise in typhoid cases. What are the basic precautions to be observed to prevent the disease?
It spreads due to contaminated food and water. So, you need to take care, especially in monsoon season, about the following:
Wash your hands with soap and water before eating or handling food.
* Drink uncontaminated water. If in doubt, boil water.
* Do not eat icy drinks and do not eat popsicles or flavoured ice.
* Eat food that is freshly and completely cooked.
* Before eating fruit, wash them properly and remove the peel. Do not eat the peels.
* Do not eat raw vegetables or salads.
* Do not buy food or drinks where hygiene of the food prepared is questionable, like street vendors.
What are the symptoms to look out for?
The common symptoms of typhoid are high fever with chills lasting for more than three days, headache, including abdominal symptoms like abdominal pain, loose motion and nausea. The symptoms of typhoid develop gradually after 10-20 days of exposure to the disease.
When should one seek medical advice?
Any fever with or without symptoms one should seek medical advice.
It is reported that the strain currently in prevalence is antibiotic resistant. How true are these reports, and what should patients with a confirmed diagnosis do for most effective treatment?
Yes, there are some strains which are antibiotic resistant. It is advised to consult a doctor early in the course of fever so that accurate and effective treatment can be initiated as soon as possible. It is essential to complete the course of antibiotics as prescribed by the doctor. Patients tend to stop taking antibiotics as soon as fever subsides. Patients should refrain from discontinuing antibiotics prematurely as it can cause relapse of the disease.
What are the common misconceptions associated with the disease?
Many take the symptoms of typhoid lightly and assume that it’s due to change in season or weather. Another common misconception is that just because you are vaccinated for typhoid does not mean you cannot get infected with it.
(Dr Maharshi Desai is senior critical care specialist, Apollo Hospitals, Ahmedabad)