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WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
Typhoid (also called typhoid fever) is a life-threatening disease caused by bacteria. It is usually spread through food or water contaminated with bowel movement from an infected person. It can also be spread through close contact with an infected person.
You or someone else should call 911 if:
- You are not responsive or have severe confusion or disorientation.
- Your infant has a fever, diarrhea, or is not responsive.
- You have hallucinations or are confused and disoriented.
Return to the emergency room if:
- Your infant has sunken fontanels (soft spots), no tears when he cries, or fewer wet diapers than usual.
- Your blood pressure suddenly goes very low, you are dizzy, and you see blood in your bowel movement.
- You have severe abdominal pain and nausea, and you are vomiting.
- You have severe diarrhea.
- You are urinating little or not at all.
Contact your healthcare provider if:
- You have constipation.
- Your child is fussy or has feeding problems.
- You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.
- Antibiotics are given to fight a bacterial infection. It is important to take all of the antibiotics, even if you feel better sooner.
- Take your medicine as directed. Contact your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him or her if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.
Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:
You will need tests to make sure you are no longer infected. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.
Signs and symptoms may start to get better about 4 weeks after they start. You may still be infected even after treatment. This means you can pass the infection to others. Ask your healthcare provider about these and other ways to prevent spreading the bacteria until the infection is gone:
- Ask about going back to work. Your healthcare provider may need to verify that you are no longer infected before you can work. He may need to do this if you handle food or work in certain care facilities.
- Wash your hands often. Use soap and water. Wash your hands after you use the bathroom or change a baby's diaper. Wash before you eat. If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer gel. Rub it in until it dries.
- Do not cook or serve food to anyone. Your risk for spreading the bacteria will increase if someone eats food you handled.
- Clean items in your house at least every day. Ask your healthcare provider what to use when you clean. Clean all toilets, door handles, and other items you touch regularly. Dry with paper towels or disposable cloths.
- Do not share towels or similar items. Use specific towels, sheets, and eating utensils or cups. Do not let anyone else use these items. Wash the items often. Use soap and hot water. If any item is soiled, soak it in disinfectant solution before you wash it.
- Ask about the typhoid vaccine. You can get the vaccine before you travel to a country where typhoid is common. Your healthcare provider will tell you when to get the vaccine and which vaccine you need. Even after you receive the vaccine, you will need to be careful about foods and drinks while you travel. You can still get typhoid even after you receive the vaccine.
- Choose foods carefully when you travel. Do not eat food from street vendors. Refrigerate food, and only have pasteurized milk or dairy products. Do not eat raw fruits or vegetables. Peel fruits and vegetables. Do not eat the peelings. Always cook all food thoroughly, and eat food that is steaming hot.
- Find safe water when you travel. Only drink water that has been treated. Ask for no ice in your drink, or only have ice made from treated water. Drink bottled water instead of tap water. You can also boil water for 1 minute before you drink it. Carbonated drinks are safer than drinks that are not carbonated.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.