How To Manage Typhoid In Your Child
Worried your child has typhoid? Kids often contract typhoid due to poor eating and drinking habits. Learn how typhoid fever is caused, its symptoms, and treatment. Also see typhoid diet for kids.
By Team ParentCircle
12-year-old Juhi Alaparthi is fond of spicy food. She often gorges on street foods like noodles, kababs, samosas in a food stall near her school. What Juhi does not realise is that there is a dirty canal right next to that stall. And, the owner of the food stall uses the canal water to wash the plates. Soon, Juhi falls ill with high fever accompanied by a headache. Later, when her parents take her to the doctor, she is diagnosed with typhoid.
Like Juhi, many children fall sick with typhoid because of consuming food prepared in unhygienic conditions. ParentCircle talks to Dr HemaPriya Natesan, founder and chief editor of MyLittleMoppet, Chennai about typhoid fever in children, its causes, symptoms and what parents can do to prevent it.
What is typhoid fever?
A bacterium called Salmonella typhi is the cause of typhoid. It can be present in water, food or spread through an infected person. In areas where there is poor sanitation, the disease is more prevalent. The primary symptom is fever which may be sudden or comes on gradually over a few days. The fever can last for a long time.
What causes typhoid in children?
Typhoid fever is frequently seen in children. They contract the infection after eating or drinking food or water which is contaminated by these bacteria. Not washing hands after using the bathroom or eating food from roadside stalls with inadequate hygiene are other contributory factors.
Typhoid symptoms in kids
The symptoms of typhoid may appear after 7 to 14 days after contracting the disease. In some cases, the child may not become sick for even two months after contracting the disease. The symptoms of typhoid include:
- Persistent fever with temperatures as high as 104ºF
- Sore throat
- Lack of energy
- Swollen belly
- Stomach pain
- Temporary rashes with raised pink spots on the stomach or chest
In addition to the above symptoms, the child will feel uneasy and restless most of the times.
How to prevent typhoid in children
1. Give them purified drinking water
The most common way for your child to catch typhoid is through contaminated water. It is important to make sure that your child drinks purified drinking water. While travelling, it is safer to carry bottled water. And boiled water can be given at home as a precaution.
2. Keep their hands clean
Teach your child to wash hands regularly and compulsorily before having anything to eat. They should use a hand wash or soap to wash hands after using the toilet. A hand sanitizer can be used when water is not available to kill germs.
3. Eat hygienic and healthy food
Eating raw foods should be avoided as much as possible. Instead, go for properly cooked food. Even while having raw food, please choose fruits and vegetables in which the skin can be peeled before eating.
For your child, it is best to avoid outside food and always give food prepared hygienically at home. Street and fast foods are best avoided for the child. Go for healthy options in foods to escape the risk of contamination.
How is typhoid treated in children?
On consulting, your doctor would prescribe a course of antibiotics for your kid. You need to make sure that she takes the medicines as prescribed and completes the entire course to avoid a relapse of the disease.
What parents can do
If your child is down with typhoid fever, as a parent you need to ensure clean surroundings for your child. Your kid needs to rest not only during the fever but also for a week after the fever subsides. Her room needs to be clean and airy.
She needs to be given lots of fluids including 8 to 10 glasses of water every day. You can consult your doctor to give Oral Rehydration Solution (ORS) if required. Give your child a sponge bath or give her a wash daily. Also, ensure you clean her teeth if she is unable to do it herself.
That apart, regularly monitor the fever and get in touch with your doctor in case of an emergency.
Typhoid fever diet for child
The digestive system is affected when the child has typhoid and it is restored gradually after the disease is cured. Give easily digestible foods like soups and porridge to your child when they have the disease.
A lot of fluids need to be a part of the diet. Protein-rich foods should be included in the diet. Raw foods, insoluble fibres like skin and seeds of fruits or vegetables and spicy and fried foods are best avoided. Cooked vegetables like carrots and sweet potatoes, juices of citrus fruits like oranges and sweet lime can be taken.
Is there a vaccine for typhoid?
Yes, there is vaccination, and it is the most fool-proof way to prevent typhoid in your child, consult your doctor about vaccinating your child for typhoid.
Is typhoid contagious?
Typhoid is contagious, as it spreads through contaminated food and water. The infection is also known to spread through stools and at times through urine.
About the author:
Written by Team ParentCircle on 24 April 2018; updated on 11 May 2020
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