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The most common symptoms of typhoid include fever, general pains, headaches, fatigue, weakness, and gastrointestinal problems, such as diarrhea, constipation, and changes in appetite. Patients diagnosed with typhoid are treated with antibiotics that kill the bacteria that cause the illness, but it often takes several weeks for the symptoms to completely subside. During this time, patients can manage the symptoms of typhoid with other medications, lifestyle modifications, and home treatment methods.
Over-the-counter medications can help minimize many of the symptoms of typhoid while the patient is recovering. Pain relievers, such as acetaminophen, help reduce the general aching feeling that often accompanies a fever. Acetaminophen also helps reduce fevers, though it likely won't eliminate the fever completely in typhoid patients. Over-the-counter medications to prevent diarrhea are also helpful for many patients because they help reduce gastrointestinal and abdominal pain and cramping and also reduce the risk of dehydration due to diarrhea.
Proper fluid intake is extremely important in managing the symptoms of typhoid because many patients get dehydrated after losing fluids due to high fevers and diarrhea. Patients should drink clear liquids without sugar as much as possible. Popsicles made from unsweetened fruit juice can help cool the patient down and provide liquid to keep him hydrated. In severe cases of dehydration, typhoid patients may need to receive fluids intravenously at a hospital or other medical care facility.
A nutritious diet high in calories helps replace nutrients lost while the body fights the infection during the duration of the illness. Typhoid patients should choose bland foods if they suffer from diarrhea or other gastrointestinal symptoms to avoid making the problem worse. Consuming more calories and fat grams than they normally would is usually suitable for typhoid patients because their bodies need the extra nourishment and energy.
Sponging off with lukewarm water or sitting in a cool bath for 10 to 20 minutes can help reduce the fever and soothe general pains. Typhoid patients often feel cold or get chills, so letting their sweat glands release as much moisture as possible is important. Removing as much clothing and bedding as possible is preferable, while still keeping the patient's comfort in mind.
Patients should discuss ways to minimize the symptoms of typhoid with their doctors or other health care professionals before taking medications or introducing anything new to their diets. Some antibiotics interact with other medications, so it's also vital that typhoid patients inform their doctors of any medications they currently take. People traveling outside of the United States, Canada, Australia, or northern Europe should be vaccinated against typhoid prior to their trips to minimize the risk of catching the infection.
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