Treatment at home
If typhoid fever is diagnosed early, you can usually be treated with a course of antibiotic tablets. Most people require a seven to 14-day course of antibiotics.
Your symptoms should improve within two to three days of starting antibiotics, but it is important to finish your course as this will prevent symptoms from coming back.
Drink plenty of fluids, get lots of bed rest and try to eat regular meals to keep your strength up. You may find it easier to eat frequent small meals than three large meals a day.
Treatment at hospital
Hospital treatment is usually recommended if:
- you experience persistent vomiting,
- you have severe diarrhoea, or
- your abdomen is swollen.
You will be given injections of antibiotics (intravenous antibiotics) and you may be attached to an intravenous drip, which will give you fluids and nutrients.
If you develop life-threatening complications (which is extremely rare in people being treated with antibiotics), surgery may be required.
Most people respond well to hospital treatment within three to five days, though it may be several weeks before you are well enough to leave hospital.
Treating chronic carriers
Once your symptoms have passed, it is recommended that you have another stool test to see if there are still S. typhi bacteria in your stools. This would mean that you are a chronic carrier of typhoid fever.
If you are a chronic carrier, you will need a 28-day course of antibiotics to 'flush out' any remaining bacteria.
Until testing shows that you are free from bacteria, do not prepare or handle food, and wash your hands thoroughly after going to the toilet.
A fever is when you have a high body temperature (over 38°C or 100.4°F).
Antibiotics are medicines that can be used to treat infections caused by micro-organisms, usually bacteria or fungi. Examples of antibiotics include amoxicillin, streptomycin and erythromycin.
Bacteria are tiny, single-celled organisms that live in the body. Some can cause illness and disease and others are good for you.
Intravenous (IV) means the injection of blood, drugs or fluids into the bloodstream through a vein.
Inflammation is the body's response to infection, irritation or injury, which causes redness, swelling, pain and sometimes a feeling of heat in the affected area.
Stool (also known as faeces) is the solid waste matter that is passed from the body as a bowel movement.
A disease is an illness or condition that interferes with normal body functions.