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How Long Does it Take to Recover from Typhoid Fever?

Updated: Feb 18


Typhoid fever is a serious infection caused by the bacteria Salmonella Typhi and Salmonella Paratyphi, which can take weeks or months to fully recover from.  


Understanding the typical recovery process and timeline can equip you better on what to do if you or a loved one becomes infected with this potentially life-threatening illness. With the right information and medical care, most people make a full recovery within a few weeks.


Key Takeaways

  • The first step towards Typhoid Fever recovery is correct diagnosis. Then, antiobiotic treatment.

  • Recovery signs from Typhoid Fever are declining fever, less fatigue, better appetite, and cleared lab tests

  • Most patients begin to recover within 1-2 weeks. If medications are not given promptly, there will be severe health complications.

  • Even if you’ve recovered from Typhoid fever, you can still be a carrier of infection.

  • Preventing typhoid through vaccinations and hygiene is crucial.


How is Typhoid Fever Treated?

The first step in recovering from typhoid fever is getting an accurate diagnosis. This allows early antibiotic treatment with appropriate antibiotics. 


Diagnosing typhoid fever can be challenging, as the symptoms are similar to other illnesses like malaria, pneumonia, or dengue fever.


Once the diagnosis is made, typhoid fever is then treated with antibiotics that help reduce the illness's intensity and duration, and lower the risk of severe complications or becoming a chronic carrier.


The most commonly used antibiotics are:

  • Azithromycin

  • Ciprofloxacin, levoflaxin or ofloxacin

  • Ceftriaxone, cefotaxime or cefixime

  • Carbapenems

Treatment usually shows improvement within 2-3 days, but it's essential to continue the antibiotics for 7-14 days to completely rid the body of Salmonella Typhi bacteria and avoid relapse. It's crucial to adhere to the prescribed course of antibiotics, even if symptoms have subsided.


However, in certain regions, antibiotic resistance is posing challenges to treatment. Some typhoid strains are resistant to multiple antibiotics, requiring combination therapy. 


Preventing antibiotic overuse and misuse is critical in controlling resistance.


Moreover, managing typhoid fever involves supportive care like hydration, nutrition, rest, and vigilant monitoring for complications.


Recovery Signs from Typhoid Fever

The telling signs that you are recovering from typhoid fever include: 

  • Fever declining

  • Fatigue and body aches improving

  • Appetite returning

  • Diarrhea and digestive issues resolving

  • Headaches and other neurologic symptoms significantly improved

  • Ability to resume normal activity

  • Lab tests showing clearing of Salmonella bacteria. Even if someone recovered from acute typhoid illness, they may later become a carrier if bacteria remain dormant in the gallbladder or other sites.


What is the Typical Typhoid Fever Recovery Timeline?

For uncomplicated typhoid fever treated appropriately with a full course of antibiotics, the typical recovery timeline is:

Week

Expected Recovery Process

1

  • Symptoms like high fever, headaches, skin rash, and stomach pain begin to improve within 2-3 days of starting antibiotics. 

  • However, antibiotics must be taken for at least 1-2 more weeks

2

  • Most symptoms resolve within 1-2 weeks with ongoing antibiotics.

  • Fevers subside, energy returns, appetite improves.

3

  • Finish remainder of prescribed antibiotic course.

  • Prevents relapse of typhoid fever symptoms.

  • Avoid heavy physical activities that can disrupt recovery.

4

  • Most patients fully recovered by end of week 4.

  • Improved energy, no lingering symptoms.

  • Return to normal activities.

Beyond 4 weeks

  • Rarely, weakness, fatigue, joint pains may persist over a month after acute infection.

  • This is called post-typhoid syndrome.

  • Seek medical care if symptoms last beyond 4 weeks.

The timeline can vary based on factors like age, health status, complications, and how soon treatment began.


Recovery may take longer if antibiotics are delayed or interrupted. However, most healthy individuals fully recover from the symptoms of typhoid fever within a month with appropriate treatment.


What Are the Complications of Typhoid Fever?

While most fully recover with antibiotics, severe complications can prolong recovery. Complications are more likely without prompt treatment. 


 Some potential complications include:

  • Intestinal bleeding or perforation requiring emergency surgery

  • Encephalitis from infection spreading to the brain

  • Myocarditis causing heart damage

  • Multiple organ failure

  • Temporary paralysis

  • Chronic reactive arthritis

  • Post-typhoid fatigue and fever lasting months


How Can Typhoid Fever Be Prevented?

The best way to avoid a lengthy recovery from typhoid is to prevent becoming infected in the first place.


Typhoid prevention strategies include:

  • Typhoid vaccine: Two types of typhoid vaccines can provide 50-80% protection against the disease. Recommended for travelers to areas with high typhoid risk. Requires booster shots every few years.

  • Proper hygiene: Wash your hands with soap and water after using the toilet or before eating so you can reduce spread of typhoid bacteria. Avoid eating uncooked street foods in areas with typhoid risk.

  • Safe food and water: Only drink water from sealed bottles, boil tap water, and avoid raw fruits/vegetables that may have been contaminated with typhoid bacteria when traveling.

  • Avoid contact with sick individuals: Do not share food, drinks or utensils with those ill with typhoid to prevent spread.

  • Improve sanitation: Typhoid risk is highest in urban areas with poor sanitation and sewer systems contaminated with human waste containing typhoid bacteria. Infrastructure improvements can reduce typhoid prevalence.

Get that Vaccine Shot!

Combining multiple prevention strategies offers the greatest defense against becoming infected with typhoid. 


However, typhoid vaccination provides the best protection for those traveling to or living in high-risk areas to date. 


Before your trip, make sure to talk with a travel health expert at Away Clinic. You can find us in Scottsdale or Chandler. Our team can help you make a smart plan to avoid health problems, based on your needs and travel destination.






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