Typhoid in Kids – Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

Typhoid in Kids - Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

A child’s mental and physical well-being is a top priority for every parent. Getting the vaccines and medication on time will put them on a good path to being a happy and healthy child. However, sometimes children get some unpleasant health issues. Typhoid, for instance, is a scary and serious infection that your kid can develop. The symptoms show very quickly so alert parents can catch it soon and get it treated immediately.

What is Typhoid Fever?

Typhoid fever is the fever that develops when a healthy person catches an infection of Salmonella typhi. It spreads from one person to another, and if the diagnosis is early, it will not be fatal. The infection is often contractes upon consuming contaminated water or food and is seen frequently amongst children. Once contracted the disease first and foremost manifests as a very high fever which is persistent and gradually rises from 102F up to 107F.

What Causes Typhoid in Children?

Typhoid is most common amongst children who do not wash their hands frequently. Animals do not carry this disease, so it is always human to human transmission that is responsible for it. Someone suffering from acute typhoid will pass on the bacteria through stools, where the bacteria can survive for weeks in the sewage. Adults are generally carriers of the pathogen, they then pass it on through stools or urine.

Here are the causes of typhoid to watch out for and prevent:

  • Eating contaminated food
  • Drinking contaminated water
  • Poor hygiene, for instance if hands are not washed frequently especially after using the bathroom and before eating
  • Eating in places close to the sewage from dirty street vendors
  • Eating vegetables and fruits which are not thoroughly washed
  • People who have typhoid who sneeze and cough can contaminate the food around them

What Are the Symptoms of Typhoid in Kids?

Once diagnosed, typhoid showcases many symptoms in children ranging from mild to severe. Here are the top symptoms of typhoid

1. High Fever

The first and foremost symptom you will notice in your child is high fever which starts off as mild but builds up over the course of a few days. It is also one symptom that lasts the longest.

2. A Sore Throat

Your child will complain of discomfort in the throat and soreness which can be quite painful.

3. Fatigue and Weakness

Feeling extremely tired and exhausted for a long period of time despite good sleep can also be a sign. Sometimes, children are so exhausted from the infection that they cannot even get up or sit without support.

4. Red Spots or Rashes

If you happen to see red spots developed on your child’s body in the lower chest area, you need to take him/her to the doctor to check for typhoid.

5. Loss of Appetite

If your child is less interested in food and refuses to eat, combined with having a sore throat, then the infection is present and persistent.

6. Diarrhoea

Children who are infected with typhoid will have a high fever accompanied by diarrhoea or lose motions sometimes.

Child on potty

7. Abdominal Pain

If your child complains of acute pain in the stomach, then chances of typhoid are quite high.

8. Constipation

If your child has difficulty passing stools and feels bloated for days, then it is a sign of an infection.

9. Headaches

Your little one could also complain of feeling heavy in the head in addition to a prolonged headache which could be due to the infection

10. Swollen Belly

Some children also have belly swelling if they have caught typhoid. If you have noticed your child with a swollen belly, call a doctor immediately.

11. Coated Tongue

If your child complains of a sore throat, also check his/her tongue immediately to see if it is coated. If it is, its another sign of an infection.

Which Children Are Most at the Risk of Getting Typhoid?

Children exposed to the following risk factors have a high chance of developing typhoid:

  • Poor access to clean drinking water
  • Infrequent washing of hands before having a meal
  • Children with a poor immune system and suffering from diseases like HIV-AIDS.

How is Typhoid Fever Diagnosed?

If you have noticed one or more of the signs in your child such as high fever, swollen belly, rashes, it is time to immediately take him/her to the doctor.

  • The doctor firsts ask for the symptoms that have presented itself when it comes to the infection.
  • The doc will then check for high fever, rashes and a coated tongue.
  • The doctor will ask for medical history as well to confirm if there are any other complications.
  • In addition, the doctor will take either a stool or urine sample and test them for the bacteria to diagnose typhoid.

How is Child Typhoid Treated?

It is important to get typhoid in the early stages, or it can get dangerously fatal. Once the doctor makes the diagnosis here are a few ways to treat the infection

  • Your kid will be given an antibiotic shot to combat the bacteria. Once administered, it will take anywhere from 7-10 days for your kid to recover.
  • Your doctor will mostly give an antibiotic on the basis of where your child contracted the disease as some bacteria react differently to different medication.
  • Sometimes relapse occurs after administering the typhoid treatment in children; then the doctor will start the course of medication once again.
  • If it is a severe case, then the doctor will give several courses of the medication to ensure the bacteria is completely gone from your child’s body.
  • There is also a preventive vaccine that can be given along with a booster, but the best thing to do is to keep your child in a clean environment.

Child getting typhoid shot

Complications of Typhoid Fever in Children

If the symptoms of typhoid or the infection are not addressed immediately, it can lead to several complications in children. If your child doesn’t get the antibiotics on time, it can prove to be fatal

  • By the third week of the infection, the complications start to show very severely. One of them is internal bleeding in the digestive system
  • Internal bleeding leads to pale skin, breathlessness, vomiting blood, passing dark or tar-like stools
  • Perforation is the splitting of a section of the digestive system, thereby allowing for the infection to spread to another tissue. This is serious and a dangerous complication
  • Perforation can rapidly spread to other organs and start shutting them down which may lead to multiple organ failures.

If you notice this or any of these in any child, ensure they are rushed to the hospital to avoid risking the life.

Can Typhoid be Prevented?

You can do a lot to raise your kid in a clean, hygienic environment free of most infections. This doesn’t mean that you do not allow your children to play outside, but certain precautions can be taken to ensure typhoid is prevented

  • Make sure your child always washes his/her hands with soap before eating anything, whether at home or outside
  • Make sure your little one always drinks sterilised clean water from the bottle or filter at home
  • Wash your kid’s hands and feet as soon as they step into the house, after playing outside
  • Do not let your child touch his face unless they have washed their hands
  • Do not let your kid have raw or rare meat; meat should be cooked thoroughly before having
  • Do not let your child eat from places which are unhygienic especially from street vendors
  • Make sure that your child eats only pasteurized dairy and eggs
  • Boil water and ensure that your kid does not ever drink tap water
  • All vegetables and fruits need to be thoroughly washed and well cooked before serving them to your child.

Let your child grow up in a clean and hygienic environment, to begin with, and make sure you help them develop good, clean habits so that they remain healthy and avoid dangerous infections.

Also Read: Diarrhoea in Babies