Typhoid itself is a huge disease and young children or toddlers getting it is a very serious problem for both the children and their parents. Because we all lose so much immunity and strength during this disease. We as parents cannot see our children suffering from a mild cold or cough. Suddenly getting typhoid can make our hearts break into pieces. We try our best to make our children feel comfortable but you have to make up your mind and be strong because every child is going to get irritated, have very less appetite, avoid food, cry all night, etc because of the disease. The best thing you can do is to take your children to the pediatrician and get the right treatment done for the disease.
What is Typhoid?
It is a bacterial infection caused by the bacteria names Salmonella Typhi. It is contagious and can spread from one person to another through contaminated food and water. A person who has typhoid can pass on the disease to others through his sweat, saliva, drinking water, or food contaminated with the infected person’s stool or urine. Thatswhy it’s very important to avoid street side food, outside food, breakfast and tiffins outside, sweets and snacks that are kept open in shops, etc. You should completely avoid giving these types of foods to young children and toddlers. You may not give outside food to your baby but sometimes in case of emergencies, you won’t have another option. So you may offer him outside breakfast or lunch like idli, dosa, upma, dal rice, curd rice, etc. If you give him food from good and hygienic restaurants hen the chances of getting infections and viruses are very low. But giving toddlers food from streetside side vendors can be very very dangerous. As they make food in very unhygienic conditions.
Causes of Typhoid in Toddlers:-
- Drinking contaminated water like Tap water, water from street side vendors, unlabelled water bottles, juices with unpure water, etc. In the rainy season, it is very important to boil the drinking water that we drink daily. Even though you have an aqua guard, filter, labeled bottled water, or any other drinking water, it is still important to boil the water daily before drinking.
- Eating contaminated food like street side idli, dosa, upma, rice, dal, veg, non-veg items, uncooked mutton, chicken, fish, prawns, snacks, pain puri, chaat masala, etc.
- Not washing hands before eating food. It’s very important to wash hands frequently mainly for toddlers as they play a lot in mud, in playgrounds, on streets, in parks, with dirty toys, etc.
- Eating raw fruits and vegetables that are not washed or cooked properly.
- Drinking fruit juices and sweets that are made with contaminated water.
Symptoms of Typhoid in toddlers:-
- High fever ranges from 102 to 104-degree celsius continuously every day if the typhoid is severe.
- If the typhoid is mild, fever may range from 99 to 100-degree celsius and may not be frequent. It will come and go every day.
- Recurrent fevers every month or after a few days of recovery.
- Fever that lasts for more than 3 days.
- Fever that comes back again after 3 to 4 days of previous fever recovery.
- Less appetite.
- Body pains.
- Rashes on the body.
- Swollen belly.
Treatment at Hospital:-
Whenever you notice that your baby’s fever lasts for more than 4 days, take him to the hospital. Normal fevers last for only 3 to 4 days. These can be due to the common cold, viral, infection, etc. Sometimes your baby might get 2 to 3 fevers in a month or within 15 to 20 days. The symptoms might look like the common cold or just a normal fever that lasts for one to 2 days. This should also be treated as soon as possible.
Your doctor will suggest you take a few tests and bring him the reports. These are:-
1. CBP (Complete Blood Picture):- This test gives information about the number of RBCs (Red Blood Cells), WBCs (White Blood Cells), and Platelets present in your body. It’s very important for these blood cells to be in their correct number. An increase or decrease of these cells can affect your overall health.
2. CRP (C-Reactive Protein):- This test measures the level of C-reactive protein made by your liver in your body. If you have any inflammation or defect in your body, your liver will make more c-reactive protein, and hence when you take a blood test, you may notice that the level of c-reactive protein is more than normal. Even if you have a fever, or cold and cough, the level of c-reactive protein will be high in your test report.
3. CUE (Complete Urine Examination):- This test helps to diagnose urinary tract infections, kidney diseases, pregnancy, diabetes, and other disorders in the body. If blood cells, stones, epithelial cells, bacteria, pus cells, and bilirubin is present in your urine, then you may have kidney disease or severe infection.
4. WIDAL:- This is one of the oldest tests used for the diagnosis of typhoid fever in both adults and children through a blood test. It checks for the presence of anti-typhoid antibodies in the blood of the person. Nowadays, the Typhoid vaccine is given when your baby turns 2 years old to prevent typhoid fevers in the future. But a vaccine needs some time to build some antibodies to fight the typhoid bacteria. So your baby might get typhoid even after one year of taking a typhoid vaccine.
All the reports of these tests will come within 6 hours or sometimes it may come the next day. As soon as the reports come, show them to your pediatrician and if it is not possible to go to the hospital, then send all the reports to your doctor’s phone number by WhatsApp, or by mail. He will try to treat your child as soon as possible before typhoid gets worse.
By checking all the reports, your doctor will give your kid a Mahacef-100 antibiotic syrup depending on your baby’s age and weight if he has typhoid. This should be taken twice daily for 5 days. Dosage will depend on your bays age and weight. For a 3-year-old baby with a weight of 15kg, 4ml is enough. Another antibiotic syrup names Aziborat (Azithromycin) is also given along with the above antibiotic to treat typhoid bacteria. This should be given once daily for 3 days. Its dosage also depends on your baby’s weight and age. For a 3-year-old baby, your doctor will suggest a 5ml dosage. If your baby still has a fever your doctor will also give you Crocin or paracetamol to control the fever.
Treatment at home:-
- Always keep your baby hydrated by offering him plenty of fluids like water, fresh fruit juices, and ORS.
- Try to give them warm water and warm foods which can be good for his sore throat.
- Avoid oily foods like all types of veg and non-veg fried items.
- Avoid spicy foods. You can only add a pinch of chili powder if you want to in your dish.
- Limit all types of masala powders and foods like biryani masala, chole masala, rajma masala, onion bajji, chaat masala, etc.
- All types of non-veg items like fish, chicken, mutton, and eggs can be taken during fever and typhoid. Just make sure they are properly washed and cooked. Our elders don’t allow us to take non-veg during fevers because non-veg items are hard to digest and take time to digest properly in your stomach and during fevers, many people prefer light food as they have very less appetite.
- Bone soup, chicken soup, mutton soup, and veg soup are best when you are suffering from fevers, colds, and coughs.
- Give him boiled and cooled water for drinking and add the same water when you cook meals for your baby.
- Give plenty of rest to your baby. If he is going to school, stop his school for one to 2 weeks and let him fully recover at home. Avoid traveling or taking him to unhygienic places.
- Completely avoid outside food for a few days.
I have a 3-year-old son who is very healthy and strong since he was born. He got a cold, fever, or cough very rarely. He used to get fever only when he had vaccinations or sometimes due to a cold or viral infection.
When he was 2.5 years old we went to our native place Guntur which is in Andhra Pradesh. The weather there in summer is very very hot that you cannot stand outside in sun even for 3 minutes. But we had to go out in the afternoon at 11am to our relative’s house for some important discussion. Our relative’s house is very near to our house. It usually takes just 5 minutes to go by walk. So we didn’t take any auto or bike and went there by walk. Since 11am to 4 pm is the time when the temperature is very high, it is not a good idea to take a child below 5 years of age outside. And since my child is very small with a very low immune system, he got sunstroke as soon as we came home at 6pm.
When you search or ask people around you about sunstroke, its side effects, and symptoms that they tell you are very different from what my son got. My son had full vomiting and a full fever of up to 103 degrees Celsius. But people say that people when you get sunstroke, you will get rashes on the body, your skin will be very hot, loss of appetite, dizziness, and dehydration.
My son wanted to eat something as he was very hungry, but as soon as he ate, he vomited everything. Even a sip of water that he would drink, would come out forcefully. This continued for 2 days though he was on medicine and kept in a cool place. There was nothing in his stomach for 2 days and at last, he was admitted to the hospital for one day and given 4 to 5 glucose bottles. He recovered completely but that sunstroke broke my son’s immune system very badly. Just after 20 days after recovery he again got a fever with no other symptoms and went away again within 3 days after giving paracetamol. Again after 20 days the fever repeated along with the cold and went away within 4 days. This continued to happen for 5 months. He got a fever every 15 to 20 days whenever he went out, had ice cream, or sometimes without any reason. He lost weight and became very thin. We were so much worried about his health and thought to do a blood test and full body scan to check for any illness or organ damage inside. Because we heard people say that our son might have a serious disease inside and that is why he is getting fevers very frequently.
Our doctor told us that our son’s immune system has become very weak after sunstroke, and it takes some time to build up again. He recommended immune drops for one month and told us to keep him away from dirt, unhygienic areas, and junk food. We followed the same. Whenever he came back from the park, I use to bathe him to get rid of all the germs, we limited the quantity of junk food he takes like lollipops, biscuits, cakes, and chips. I used to give him warm water to drink every day or whenever he had ice cream or juice. This will prevent throat infection and hence cold and fever. We used to cover his head and ears when we go outside. More fiber, nuts, fruits, and healthy food were added to his diet to build immunity faster.
After 3 to 4 months of carefully taking care of him, he recovered fully. He was strong and healthy again just like before. He started to gain some weight and was very active like before. When he reached 3 years of age, he started to go to school too in the nursery. As soon as he joined his nursery, within 5 days he got a cold and fever. I thought this is normal as it happens with every kid who is new to the school. Infections from other children can easily pass on to kids with low immunity. He got a fever along with a cold for 2 days. After 3 to 4 days I and my husband got a cold and fever. While we were recovering my son got a fever and cold again just like before. This time we took him to the hospital and our doctor suggested a blood test as he got a fever again after 5 days of recovery.
Taking a blood test on a little 3-year-old kid is really painful. but my son cooperated a lot. He is smart, active, and playful. We got the reports on the same day. We were so worried about the results. When we got the reports we were sad as our son tested typhoid positive. We sent the reports to our pediatrician and he confirmed that our son has mild typhoid and that it’s nothing to worry about. The next day, we went to the hospital and he gave our son a 5 days antibiotic course. He told us we can give all kinds of veg and non-veg in typhoid except spicy and oily foods. He also told us that outside food is the only source of getting typhoid in children and adults and told us to limit giving outside food like street side breakfast, meals, snacks, fruits, etc.
What I didn’t understand is that normally adults or children who get typhoid, have symptoms like high fever, less appetite, full weakness, body pains, and headaches. But my son didn’t have any of the symptoms. He had a fever only for one day and had a cold for 5 days. But still, we continued to give his antibiotics. After one week of full recovery, he started to go to school again.
So this was my experience with my kid. I think recurrent fevers are due to a low immune system. There might be some other causes too like an infection in your child’s body, Typhoid, Bacterial infection, and other defects. So try to examine your child each and every time he gets a fever. Getting recurrent fevers is also a symptom of typhoid. Talk to your doctor in brief about his symptoms and the time period of fever. Your doctor knows the best and will treat your child accordingly. Don’t do any blood tests, urine tests, or medical tests until your pediatrician says you to.