Some travelers worry a lot before they leave home. They may worry about being in a different culture, not knowing the language, or getting lost. On the other hand, some travelers worry about diseases like typhoid fever. Here’s what they should know about typhoid treatment and the disease before they leave home.
Typhoid fever transmission is caused by bacteria that can cause serious stomach and digestion problems. It is most frequently dangerous for children, though anyone can get very ill.
The bacteria that cause typhoid fever are found most frequently in contaminated food or water. Ingesting these items introduces the bacteria to the body, where it grows and causes problems. Therefore, it is a highly infectious disease caused by Salmonella Typhi bacteria.
Paratyphoid fever is nearly identical to typhoid fever. However, it is caused by different bacteria. People usually get that bacteria the same way they get the one for typhoid fever.
It is not usually possible to tell if food has been invaded by typhoid fever bacteria. People who travel may not be able to tell if their food or drink is safe to consume. This is because it is not always possible to tell just by looking at it or doing simple tests. Sometimes food gets contaminated when it is exposed to fecal bacteria.
Once the bacteria get attached to a person, it can be transmitted to food or water. Similarly, a water supply contaminated by a latrine may become a breeding ground for typhoid fever bacteria.
When the water is used to wash food or is drunk directly, the person who ingests it is exposed to typhoid bacteria. A few people become typhoid carriers after having the illness. They will not feel ill, but they will still have the bacteria in their bodies.
Typhoid fever is most commonly contracted in countries with poor sanitation. In these areas, the water supply may not be clean and may transmit the bacteria from one person to another. This is more common in developing countries than in developed ones. Although accidents can still happen, and people can get typhoid fever anywhere.
Typhoid fever is most common in Africa, the Caribbean, South America, Central America, and the Middle East. It is also common in South Asia (including India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh) and Southeast Asia. Additionally, people who are visiting family members in these countries are more likely to get typhoid fever than other travelers. Both Typhoid and Paratyphoid fever are rare in the United States.
When people visit their families, they tend to eat meals together. It is usually prepared at home, where it is more likely that the food will get exposed to bacteria. Additionally, it can spread due to contaminated drinking water.
Unfortunately, previous exposure to typhoid fever does not mean that a traveler cannot get it again. They should plan for it just like a traveler who is visiting the country for the first time.
People with typhoid fever experience a high fever. It spikes as high as 103 or 104 degrees Fahrenheit. It may come out of nowhere. The majority of people who get typhoid fever also have stomach problems. This may be extreme abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or constipation.
It is an enteric fever where most infected people will not want to eat anything while they are sick. A few people will see a rash that covers all or parts of their body. This is usually flat and dark pink in color, and it may appear to come and go or to move around on the body. Some may slip into a typhoid state. People in this state stare into the middle distance with half-lidded eyes, unable to move, speak, or do anything to help themselves.
These people should be given medical attention as soon as possible. In fact, anyone with typhoid fever or suspected typhoid fever should see a doctor as soon as possible. Without medical attention, people with serious symptoms may die. They may develop health problems such as intestinal holes or inflammation that spreads throughout the body.
Vaccines are available for typhoid fever, though they are only 50-80 percent effective. There are no known vaccines for paratyphoid fever, which can cause similar symptoms.
Most travelers will have two vaccine options to choose from. They can consult with their doctor to determine which one would be the best option for them. Both vaccines are equally effective. One involves taking pills, while the other involves getting shots.
The pill vaccine is a series of four pills taken every other day. The series must be completed at least one week before the traveler leaves home. The shot is a single shot, though it must be taken at least two weeks before travel. If it has been a long time since the traveler had one, a booster is recommended.
The pills are available for travelers who are 6 years old or older. On the other hand, the shot is available starting at age 2. Parents should especially watch children, as typhoid can be especially deadly for kids. They are smaller and get dehydrated faster, so they are more likely to get seriously ill.
Travelers can use hand sanitizer whenever they would normally wash their hands. If handwashing is available, though, they should do that instead, as it may be more effective. Travelers should also follow some simple rules when it comes to what they eat and drink.
They should never drink tap water, even if it means that they have to budget to buy bottled water every day. The bottle should come with a sealed cap. If water like this is not available, travelers should buy other beverages that are in containers directly from the factors.
Travelers should avoid the following food items:
To make sure food has not been contaminated, travelers should only eat food that is served hot. Finally, people showing any signs of typhoid fever should not prepare food, even for themselves. This limits the amount of contamination they can do and the contagion they can pass.
Antibiotics are the only effective ways to kill the bacteria that cause typhoid fever. Doctors and healthcare providers will help people find medicine to make them feel better quickly.
Travelers who are allergic to certain antibiotics will need to make sure they know what these are. That way, the doctor can prescribe them something else to help them feel better. Sometimes, doctors may actually culture the bacteria causing the illness. This can confirm that it is typhoid fever, but it can also help doctors choose the right antibiotic to fight the disease.
Occasionally, typhoid fever can become resistant to antibiotics. In these cases, people will need to work closely with doctors to find a treatment that will be effective for them.
They may also need to be monitored for more severe diseases until an effective treatment is found. People diagnosed with typhoid fever should also drink as much water as they can handle. They should only return to work after they get better.
Some countries may require vaccination for typhoid fever before a traveler can enter. Travelers can get updated travel information about the countries they want to visit online. This will tell them what vaccinations are required and what they need to present at the border.
Travelers who need to get vaccinated for typhoid fever should make sure they do so in the proper window of time before they leave.
Travelers concerned about typhoid fever can get vaccinated before they travel and take care regarding what they eat and drink while they are on their trip. This should help them enjoy their vacation without getting typhoid fever and having to deal with those complications.