Updated: October 28, 2017
Typhoid fever, also known as typhoid, is a bacterial infection due to Salmonella typhi. The bacteria grows in the intestines and blood. Typhoid is spread by eating or drinking food or water contaminated with the feces of an infected person.
Complications caused by typhoid fever usually only occur in people who haven't been treated with appropriate antibiotics or left untreated. Sometimes it could be Life threatening. The two most common complications in untreated typhoid fever are:
Most internal bleeding that occurs in typhoid fever is not life-threatening, but can make you feel very unwell.
Symptoms of internal bleeding include:
To replace lost blood, a blood transfusion may be required. Surgery can be done to repair the site of the bleeding.
In this condition the bacteria that live in your digestive system can move into your stomach and infect the lining of your abdomen, that is the peritoneum. This is known as peritonitis.
The tissue of the peritoneum is usually sterile and doesn't have an inbuilt defense mechanism for fighting infection. Hence the infection can rapidly spread into the blood causing sepsis, before spreading to other organs. This carries the risk of multiple organ failure. It may result in death if not treated properly. The most common symptom of peritonitis is sudden abdominal pain that gets progressively worse.
Peritonitis is a medical emergency. If you have peritonitis, you will be admitted to hospital, where you will be treated with antibiotic injections. Surgery can be done to seal the hole in your intestinal wall.
Usually typhoid fever can be successfully treated with a course of antibiotic medication. Most cases can be treated at home, but if the condition is severe hospitalization may be required.
If typhoid fever is diagnosed in its early stages, a course of antibiotic medicines may be prescribed for for 7 to 14 days. Some strains of the Salmonella typhi bacteria that cause typhoid fever are resistance to one or more types of antibiotics. In that case blood, stool or urine samples are taken during your diagnosis and tested in a laboratory to determine which strain you are infected with, so that you can be treated with an appropriate antibiotic.
Within two to three days of taking antibiotics, your symptoms should begin to improve. To make sure the bacteria are completely removed from your body, it's very important you finish the course of antibiotics.
Make sure you rest, drink plenty of fluids and eat regular meals. It is recommended to eat smaller meals more frequently, rather than three larger meals a day. You should also maintain good standards of personal hygiene, such as regularly washing your hands with soap and warm water, to reduce the risk of spreading the infection to others. The symptoms or infection may reoccur in few cases which is known as a relapse. Further treatment with antibiotics is usually recommended in this cases.
If you have severe symptoms of typhoid fever, such as persistent vomiting, severe diarrhea or a swollen stomach, hospitalization is required. You will be treated with antibiotic injections and you may also be given fluids and nutrients directly into a vein through an intravenous drip. If you develop life-threatening complications of typhoid fever, such as internal bleeding or a section of your digestive system splitting, surgery may be needed.