Diphtheria is a medical condition characterized by bacterial infections that usually affect the mucous membrane, especially in the nose and throat. The disease causes swollen glands, body weakness, fever and sore throat. However, the main symptom of diphtheria is a sheet of thick gray material that covers the back of your throat.
Diphtheria is a condition with so many symptoms. They usually begin to be noticed within 4-5 days after the infection. Some of the people are known to be carriers of the condition since their symptoms are not seen. The condition mostly affects the skin and the throat and hence most of the symptoms are seen there. Below are the symptoms of Diphtheria.
- Difficulty when breathing
- Irregular nasal discharge
- Sore throat and hoarseness
- Enlarged lymph nodes or swollen glands in your neck
- Thick gray membrane covering the throat and the tonsils
- Malaise (tiredness)
- Fever and chills
Diphtheria is caused by a certain bacteria known as bacterium Corynebacterium diphtheriae. The bacteria usually multiplies near the surface of the mucous membrane of the throat or the skin. On the throat, the bacteria forms a gray membrane that is visible. Although the main cause of diphtheria is bacteria, there are many ways to come into contact with the bacteria.
- Through airborne droplets: this happens when a person suffering from the disease coughs or sneezes and releases a mist of contaminated droplets. This is highly contagious in crowded conditions.
- Use of contaminated personal items: handling of items like drinking utensils that were used by an infected person can also lead to spread of infections.
Before the doctor can proceed to treatment, he or she must diagnose the illness as diphtheria thoroughly. Diphtheria is among the conditions that have external signs. Certain tests are carried out to ensure that the patient is suffering from diphtheria. One of the external signs is the growth of a gray membrane on the throat or tonsil.
A test in which the growth of C. diphtheriae in the laboratory culture of material taken from the membrane gives the doctor a hint of the condition. A sample of a tissue from a wound can also be taken to the laboratory to check the type of diphtheria affecting you.
When diagnosed with diphtheria, the medical practitioner will start treatment immediately and aggressively since the condition can be serious if not handled with care. Since diphtheria is caused by bacteria, antibacterial and antitoxin drugs are used. Antitoxin is administered in the body through injection. This neutralizes the diphtheria toxins in the body. The doctor must carry out an antitoxin test to ensure that the patient is not allergic to the drug.
Antibiotics such as penicillin or erythromycin are used to kill the bacterial infections in the body. Diphtheria is contagious. For a successful treatment, the patient is isolated from others, especially those who are uninfected.