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Heather Hanks
Written by Heather Hanks

Reviewed by Physician Brandon Yew and Dr Angelica L Dumapit on September 28, 2022

Here’s What To Do If You Think You Have Typhoid Fever

As the name implies, typhoid fever is characterized by a high fever that may occur rather quickly. The potentially life-threatening condition is hard to treat, making it a global concern.

Typhoid fever min scaled

Typhoid fever is a highly contagious illness that is becoming increasingly drug-resistant. It’s characterized by a high fever, diarrhea, and flu-like symptoms.

Health experts have recently warned that the disease requires a global response as several resistant strains have spread to various countries.

The disease does not respond to certain antibiotics, making it hard to treat and increasing the risk of getting very sick from it.

In this guide, we’ll explain what you need to know about typhoid fever, including what it is, how to spot the symptoms, and tips for protecting your health.

What Is Typhoid Fever?

The most common symptom is a high fever that develops rapidly within a few days.

Typhoid fever is an illness caused by a type of bacteria called Salmonella Typhi (S. Typhi). It leads to stomach pain, high fever, and flu-like symptoms.

There are approximately 27 million cases and over 200,000 deaths per year worldwide. Nearly 70% of cases occur in South Asia, but many other deaths occur in Oceania and sub-Saharan Africa.

Infection is rare in Western countries. However, it can be deadly due to its rapid progression to hemorrhagic shock and high fever within a few weeks.

Additionally, the rise in drug-resistant strains is increasing, making them hard for doctors to treat. When treated quickly, death rates are between 1% and 4%. Without treatment, mortality risk can be as high as 30%.

Symptoms

Typhoid fever gets its name because it causes a high fever that gets worse within a few days. Other symptoms may include:

How does it spread?

Washing your hands often can help protect you against infection.

You can become infected with typhoid fever if you come into contact with food and water that has been contaminated with S. Typhi. It happens when an infected person touches something that you eat or drink without washing their hands first. It may also occur when contaminated water, such as soiled toilet water, comes into contact with your food.

Typhoid fever can also be spread from person to person. For example, if an infected person does not wash their hands after they use the bathroom and touches the doorknob or their phone, it can leave behind bacteria that transfer to someone else.

TCM Ways To Help Manage Typhoid Fever

From a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) perspective, typhoid fever is an infection of the Spleen, stomach, and large intestines with exogenous Cold, Heat and Dampness pathogens found in contaminated food and water.

According to TCM Physician Brandon Yew, “TCM can help manage symptoms through herbal medication, acupuncture, cupping, guasha (scraping), moxibustion, tuina (Chinese manual therapy) and blood-letting. These treatments are carefully formulated by a TCM physician to address specifically the unique body constitution of every individual patient. Hence, it’s best to always first consult the TCM physician for proper assessment.” 

Herbal medication

Below listed are some herbal formulas that can help effectively manage typhoid fever.

For fever, headache, muscle aches, chills, nausea, vomiting, and epigastric or abdominal pain and distention:

  • Xie Huang San
  • Fang Feng Tong Sheng San
  • San Huang Xie Xin Tang
  • Ge Gen Qin Lian Tang
  • Xiang Lian Wan

For the above-mentioned symptoms, along with fatigue, loss of appetite, and diarrhea or constipation:

  • Ban Xia Xie Xin Tang
  • Fang Feng Tong Sheng San
  • Lian Pu Yin
  • Huo Xiang Zheng Qi San
  • Liang Fu Wan
  • Mu Xiang Bing Lang Wan

To help manage a high fever, you may wish to take a ready-made fever relief herbal formula. For flu-like symptoms, such as a sore throat and cough, consider taking a flu relief herbal formula.

“Please always bear in mind that the herbal formulas provided above are meant for varying pathological states of typhoid fever corresponding to different body constitutions. These are characterized by underlying specific imbalances. As such, it is strongly advised not to purchase any of them to self-medicate without first consulting a certified TCM professional. He or she will assess the patient’s unique body constitution and current medical state and advise accordingly,” stated Physician Yew.

Acupressure

Acupressure is an easy self-help remedy you can do at home by placing fingers or a blunt object like a massage stick at certain acupoints. Then apply an appropriate amount of pressure to elicit a tolerable sensation of soreness or tenderness. At the same time, massage in both clockwise and anticlockwise circular motion 20 times each. Repeat for at least 3 minutes per acupoint.  

Distal acupoints that might help relieve symptoms of typhoid fever are:

  • To relieve fever, headache, chills, and muscle aches: Qu Chi (LI11) and He Gu (LI4)
  • To help with nausea and vomiting: He Gu (LI4), Nei Guan (PC6), Yin Ling Quan (SP9), and Zu San Li (ST36)
  • For loss of appetite or abdominal distention and pain: He Gu (LI4), Nei Guan (PC6), Yin Ling Quan (SP9) and Shang Ju Xu (ST37)
  • To help with diarrhea or constipation: Yin Ling Quan (SP9), Zu San Li (ST36), and Shang Ju Xu (ST37)

“Do take note that acupressure can only help to manage mild symptoms. It is strongly recommended to seek professional help from a licensed TCM practitioner, who can perform acupuncture safely and effectively to provide a much stronger and more comprehensive therapeutic efficacy in tackling the actual root imbalances. Do promptly co-consult a medical doctor, especially if the symptoms persist and worsen as typhoid fever can be life-threatening,” concluded Physician Yew.

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