Notes on the symptoms, prevention and treatment of Enteric fever

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Enteric fever includes both typhoid and paratyphoid. It spreads through bacteria. The causative organism of typhoid is “Bacillus typhus’s” and that of paratyphoid “Bacillus paratyphoid”. It is the disease of the digestive tract. Its infection causes fever and ulceration in the intestine which may bleed sometime. It is an acute infectious and communicable fever of long duration. It is common between the age of five and thirty- five and usually occurs in warm weather between July so September. The incubation period for the fever is for 2 to 3 weeks and for paratyphoid it may be longer.

Symptoms

Initially there is fever, occasionally accompanied by shivering. The fever rises gradually to 103-104 degree farenite fifth on the and sixth day. The patient complains of severe frontal headache, backache and vomiting. Gradually the body ache reduces. The typical symptom of typhoid is a centrally coated tongue gradually with red boundaries. There is tenderness of the abdomen and constipation. Sometimes also, diarrhea and dislike for food occurs. This disease may stay on till four weeks.

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Since this disease affects the intestines, they become week. Sometime the abdomen is distended. Once cured, the disease can reoccur. This can be prevented by eating proper diet, rest and treatment under medical guidance.

Mode of spread

This disease spreads through food and water contaminated by faces and urine. Flies contaminate open food by transferring the germs from the faces to eatables. They act as carrier in spreading typhoid. The infection also spreads due to low standards of food and kitchen hygiene and also because of illiteracy and health ignorance. All these factors go hand in hand and maintain the high endemicity of typhoid fever in India.

Treatment

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Complete rest during fever is advisable. Adequate rest for at least 10 days after subsides. Give only liquid or semi solid-soft diet like milk, tea, coffee, fruit juice, soup, soft cooked rice, cereal pulse preparation. After fever subsides gradually switch to routine diet including bread, pulses, rice etc. Avoid hot, spicy, fried and sweet foods for 4-5 weeks. Chloramphenicol capsules may be given under medical supervision.

Prevention

1. The patient should be isolated either at home or in the hospital.

2. Dispose the patient’s faeces in a latrine or bury it in the ground.

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3. Wash and dry the patient’s clothes in sunlight or iron them.

4. Avoid washing patient’s clothes near the river, well or pond.

5. The vegetables and fruits should be thoroughly washed before eating.

6. Avoid drinking water, which is contaminated due to faulty drainage and water pipes.

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7. In such cases, inform the related Government department or drink boiled or chlorinated water.

8. The patient and people in his/her close contact should take typhoid vaccine.

9. Maintain personal hygiene.

10. Avoid eating uncovered foods and keep the surroundings clean.

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11. After an attack of typhoid, the germs exist in patients stool and urine for three months. Such a person should avoid cooking and serving food at public places like hostel, hotels etc.

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