As temperatures drop, food- and water-borne diseases are on the rise. Illnesses, like Typhoid, are especially common among children. Extra care should be taken to maintain water and electrolyte balance. As parents, here are some tips and guidelines to protect your kids from typhoid fever:

HOW DOES TYPHOID SPREAD?

Typhoid, or enteric fever, is caused by Salmonella typhi and spread by food or water contaminated with human waste. It can also occur when food or drink is served by infected people who haven’t washed their hands after using the bathroom.

Symptoms of this bacterial infection include:
• Fever that rises gradually and persistently
• General ill-feeling
• Abdominal pain
• Headache
• Sore throat
• Tiredness
• Low energy
• Constipation
• Diarrhoea
• Temporary rash with raised pink spots on the stomach or chest

WHAT ARE THE COMPLICATIONS OF TYPHOID FEVER?

Prompt treatment for typhoid is necessary, as children can quickly develop complications like internal bleeding, delirium, convulsions and even death. The infection is treated with a broad-spectrum of antibiotics initially, which are changed to more specific drugs after test results arrive. Water and electrolytes should be monitored and replaced carefully.

WHAT CAN YOU DO AS PARENTS?

Prevention remains the best cure against these diseases; here are some simple steps that can be followed:

  1. Teach your child to wash hands frequently. Wash with warm, soapy water before eating food and after using the toilet. Use alcohol-based hand sanitiser when water is not available.
  2. Drink bottle water only. At home, use good quality filters and practices like boiling to maintain purity.
  3. Stick to fruits and vegetables you can peel. Many of these may have been washed in contaminated water.
  4. Vaccination is available for children over 2 years. Consult your paediatrician regarding the vaccine for your child.

If your child is displaying the symptoms listed above, it is best to consult a doctor for further management. Once treatment has started, improvement in symptoms may be seen within 2 days. Complete resolution takes up to 3 weeks in most cases.

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