Diphtheria | Symptoms, Causes, Treatment & Prevention

What is Diphtheria ?

Diphtheria is a bacterial infection caused by Corynebacterium diphtheriae. It primarily affects the throat and nose, leading to severe respiratory problems if left untreated. Initial symptoms may include fever, sore throat, and weakness. As the infection progresses, a thick gray or white membrane may develop in the throat, causing breathing difficulties.

Diphtheria is a serious infectious disease occurring in the front of the throat and in the trachea of ​​children, if not treated in time, a dangerous condition arises, it occurs especially in children from one year to five years. There is a possibility of its infection (initiation of diphtheria) to another child as well. The infected membrane of the patient’s throat contains many bacteria. These bacteria are transmitted to others by coughing, sneezing and spitting.

Diagnosis of DTaP

It is important to visit a general practitioner to diagnose diphtheria. The doctor will perform a physical exam to check for any swollen lymph nodes. A gray coating on your tonsils and throat is also an early sign of diphtheria. Infected tissue is scraped and given to the laboratory for testing. A swab from the back of the throat or nose is usually taken for laboratory testing to confirm the presence of the diphtheria bacteria.

Causes of Diphtheria

A form of bacteria called Corynebacterium diphtheriae causes this disorder. This medical condition is spread through contact with an infected person and through contact with various objects that contain bacteria like the tissue or cup used in diphtheria. You are also prone to developing diphtheria if an infected person blows your nose, coughs or sneezes in front of you. Even if a person with diphtheria does not show symptoms, they can still transmit the bacteria to a healthy person. This bacteria releases a harmful substance called a toxin. This toxin spreads through the bloodstream and causes a thick gray coating to form in the throat, nose, tongue and airways. In severe cases, all of these toxins damage the kidneys, brain, and heart. Diphtheria can lead to a number of complications such as kidney failure, paralysis and myocarditis.

Symptoms of Diphtheria

1) There is mild fever with redness on the throat, restlessness and vomiting.

2) Along with inflammation in the tonsils of the throat, a thin mucous-like membrane is formed in the palate. Due to this it becomes difficult to drink or swallow water. Soon this membrane begins to expand, causing difficulty in breathing.

3) Cough starts coming as the fever increases.

4) Severe restlessness with extreme weakness, pus-like discharge from the nose.

5) The blood pressure decreases, the patient starts delirium, thirst is more.

6) Throat becomes swollen, ear pain starts. The disease spreads up to the nose.

7) In the last condition, the disease spreads to the throat, nose and larynx. The body turns blue. The chances of survival of the patient are reduced.

Treatment For Diphtheria

Prompt medical attention is crucial. Treatment typically involves antibiotics to eliminate the bacteria, as well as supportive care to manage symptoms and complications. Diphtheria should be treated as soon as possible. The first step is to use antitoxin injections. This antitoxin is used to counteract the toxins produced by the diphtheria bacteria. Antibiotics such as penicillin and erythromycin are also prescribed to fight the infection. If you have diphtheria it is important to hospitalize yourself so that the infection cannot be passed on to other people. It can be prevented with the use of vaccination. The vaccine used for diphtheria is known as DTaP. This vaccine is usually given with one tetanus and one pertussis.

The disease reaches its peak very quickly. Therefore, as soon as the initial symptoms are detected, a qualified doctor should be shown without delay. Many types of disturbances, such as pneumonia, asphyxia, cardiac arrest, paralysis etc.

Prevent Diphtheria

Antibiotics and vaccines can be given to prevent diphtheria, which can usually be given in childhood. The diphtheria vaccine is called DTaP and is usually given along with the whooping cough and tetanus vaccines, given in five doses, depending on age:

  • when the baby is two months old
  • when the baby is four months old
  • when the baby is six months old
  • When the baby is 15 to 18 months old
  • When the baby is 4 to 6 years old

Apart from this, the effect of this vaccine can last for the next 10 years. In some cases, you may still need to get this vaccine, which may be called a booster shot, even when your child is 12 years old.

Similarly, young children should also get the DT vaccine, which protects against diphtheria and tetanus. Similarly, adults should get the Tdap vaccine to prevent strep throat. It protects against tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (whooping cough). At the same time, the Tet (TD) vaccine in adults protects against tetanus and DTaP.

Frequently Asked Questions

How is diphtheria transmitted?
Diphtheria is spread through respiratory droplets from coughing or sneezing of an infected person. It can also be transmitted by touching contaminated surfaces.

Is diphtheria a serious illness?
Yes, diphtheria can be a serious and potentially life-threatening illness, especially if the airway becomes blocked.

Can diphtheria be prevented?
Yes, diphtheria can be prevented through vaccination. The DTaP vaccine is usually administered as part of the DTP/DTaP (diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis) series.

How effective is the diphtheria vaccine?
The diphtheria vaccine is highly effective in preventing diphtheria. It provides long-lasting immunity after completing the recommended vaccination schedule.

Who should receive the diphtheria vaccine?
The vaccine is recommended for children as part of their routine immunization schedule. Booster shots may be required in adulthood to maintain immunity.

Are there any potential complications of diphtheria?
Yes, complications can include heart problems, nerve damage, and difficulty breathing. These can be serious and require specialized medical care.

What should I do if I suspect someone has diphtheria?
Seek immediate medical attention. Contact a healthcare professional or visit the nearest healthcare facility for evaluation and treatment.

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